This baked tilapia recipe is Thai delicious and easy to make. While this same dish would be steamed in Thailand, you can bake it and the results just as delicious. This tilapia recipe features the dark richness of tamarind, which is a fruit that grows in many parts of Asia.

You can make it easy on yourself and buy the prepared tamarind paste at a food store. The sauce is a combination of sweet and sour, with notes of chili, garlic, and ginger. This delectable Pan Seared Fish with Tamarind Sauce also pairs well with rice, quinoa, couscous or even whole grain flatbread and roasted vegetables.


  • 45 grams dry tamarind
  • 1 pound Fish fillet
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds coarsely ground
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds coarsely ground
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon green onions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dill chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped


  1. Clean the dry tamarind and remove any seeds. Soak in 1/2 cup warm water.
  2. Clean, rinse and pat dry the fish fillet.
  3. Mix the coarsely ground cumin seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, red pepper, and 1/3 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the spice mix on both sides of the fish fillet and gently press so it sticks well. Set it aside.
  4. Meanwhile, once the tamarind softens nicely, squeeze it a few times to obtain the thick juices. Squeeze out the pulp completely and discard.
  5. Heat one teaspoon oil in a small saucepan and sauté grated garlic for a minute but do not let it brown. Then add the tamarind pulp and stir.
  6. When it starts to bubble, add pomegranate molasses, and remaining salt.
  7. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick. Stir it occasionally. In the end add most of the chopped herbs, saving just a little for garnish.
  8. Next, heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in an iron skillet at medium-high heat. Place the fish fillet on the hot skillet and sear it to a golden brown on both sides until it flakes and is well done.
  9. The time will vary with the fish and thickness of the fillet.
  10. Pour the tamarind sauce all around the fish in the skillet. Let it sizzle for a minute and turn off the heat.
  11. Plate the well done seared fish on a serving plate and dot the tamarind sauce over it along with a garnish of herbs.