A freshwater fish closely related to the cichlids you’ll find swimming in an aquarium near you (and distantly related to perch). It originally comes from Africa but is mainly farmed in Asia. A specimen can weigh up to 4 kg but more commonly sold portion-sized.
Tilapia is sometimes called “St. Peter’s fish” after a story in the Bible but in some other languages “St Peter's fish” is what would be called “John Dory” in English, “Gallo” in Spanish, which is a saltwater fish.
How to cook tilapia
The flesh is similar to red snapper or perch and can be cooked in the same way. It has a reddish tone on the skin side. Some chefs dislike tilapia and think – especially if it has been frozen – that it needs a lot of spices to make it worth putting on the plate.
The size and the relatively firm, delicate flesh make it good for frying, grilling and baking whole.
It needs a high temperature. Tilapia contains enzymes that mean the flesh turns to “mush” if it is cooked at a low heat.
Beautifully fried or grilled and served on a bed of glass noodles and crispy vegetables with a dressing of fish sauce, oil, sugar, lime, spring onions, chili and garlic.