Thai Coconut Tilapia with Forbidden Rice

I’m definitely on a Thai kick these days. I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or a serious lack of spice in my personal life, but all I’ve been craving is curry.

Curry I love. Tilapia I do not. It’s like chicken to me – so boring. But this past weekend I decided to see if I could a) make tilapia less boring and b) play around with a new curry dish.

Much to my surprise and delight, it turned out better than I’d imagined in my head. The flavors were so spectacular, it felt like I was dressing tilapia up for the prom.

Since I had a bag of forbidden rice in the cupboard waiting to accompany an asian dish, I decided to experiment with a lightly curry flavored side dish. The name “forbidden rice” cracks me up. It’s really just a black rice that has a more nutty flavor and a deep purple color than the white variety, but an old wives tale says at one time it was considered to be the Emperor’s rice in China and, therefore, forbidden for anyone else to eat.

It certainly rounds out this dish and, as a bonus, makes me feel a little bit like royalty.


  • 1 1/2 cups black rice
  • 1  (14-ounce) can light coconut milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2  teaspoons curry powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1  cup onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup sliced roasted red peppers
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 5  tilapia fillets, between 6-8 ounces
  • Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse rice until the water runs clear.
  • Bring 3/4 cup of coconut milk and chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  • Add rinsed rice to the saucepan, along with 1 teaspoon of curry powder.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 35-40 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed and rice is soft.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon the sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onion. Toss to coat sand cook for 1 minute.
  • Add peppers and garlic and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the onions soften.
  • Stir in curry powder, curry paste, cumin, and the salt and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add soy sauce and remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Heat broiler to high.
  • Brush fish with 1/2 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  • Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  • Serve fish on top of rice. Spoon sauce over both.

Notes: This sauce is so good that I’d serve it over any type of fish, or even grilled beef or chicken.

What you’ll need: A medium saucepan, a large nonstick skillet, and a baking sheet.

What you want to know: 414 calories, 15 grams of fat, 38 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 9 Weight Watchers points.

Table for one: If you’re cooking for one, just broil one piece of fish. Spoon the remaining sauce into separate freezer containers and freeze for later. When later comes, just reheat in a small saucepan and broil another piece of fish. The black rice also freezes well. Just add a touch of water to the pan when you reheat it.


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Filed under Seafood, Table for One, Weight Watchers Friendly

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