Pan-Fried Tilapia with Fried Onions


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Brick Lane Cookbook

Brick Lane Cookbook

By Dina Begum

Published 2018

  • About

For a jazzed-up fish Friday try this easy dish, inspired by Gram Bangla and Banglar Mukh, a couple of the smaller Bangladeshi eateries on Brick Lane which specialise in home-style cooking. These restaurants tend to have only a few meat or chicken dishes, but when it comes to fish you’re spoilt for choice with a vast selection of dishes which are fried, curried and/or made into dumplings. This fish recipe is crispy and fragrant and so good with simple steamed rice. Best of all it’s on your plate in about ten minutes.


  • 4 tilapia fillets, without skin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 green chillies, cut lengthways
  • 250 ml vegetable oil, to shallow fry


Pat dry your tilapia fillets and place on a large, flat dish. Mix the salt with the turmeric, cumin and chilli powder in a small bowl and rub about a teaspoon into each fillet. Make sure to cover both sides evenly and set aside. Put 150ml of oil in a pan over high heat and add the sliced onions. Fry them for six to eight minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy. Stir through the chopped coriander and green chillies a minute before taking off the heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a dish.

Next, heat 100ml of oil in a clean frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, carefully slide two tilapia fillets at a time into the pan and fry for five minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove to a warm dish and repeat with the remaining two fillets. Serve the fish with steamed rice, topped with some of the fried onions