Red Cooked Tilapia

June Duo shared a fish recipe in the South Arm Community Kitchen. She called it Red Cooked Tilapia. Jane bought two fresh Tilapia from some Chinese groceries stores, not frozen ones. You can find live fish in some Chinese groceries stores where the fish monger will catch the one you pick and kill it for you there and then. This is very common in the Asia as freshness is the key to a delicious meal.


The Red Cooked Tilapia is sweet and sour and the spices used were able to overcome the fishy odour. This dish goes well with steamed rice.


  • 1 Tilapia
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cooking wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon 13 spices powder (can be substituted with 5 spice powder)
  • 3 star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon wild pepper corn
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package of chicken seasoning
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil for frying



redcookedtilapia-11-300x200Wash and pat dry the fish. Cut a few slits into the fish on both sides at a slight angle to allow the fish to cook faster.
redcookedtilapia-13-300x200Heat a frying pan with the oil. Pan fry the fish until both sides are golden brown.
redcookedtilapia-14-300x200Add green onions, garlic, ginger, 13 spice powder, star anise, wild pepper, rice vinegar and rice wine and ketchup. Add enough water to cover half way up the fish.
redcookedtilapia-18-300x200Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Flip the fish half way through to make sure both sides are cooked.
redcookedtilapia-16-300x200Add the frozen mixed vegetables when the fish is almost done and the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and sugar and chicken seasoning. Let simmer until the frozen vegetables are heated through.

Serve with steamed rice.

Jane Duo, thank you for sharing this Red Cooked Tilapia recipe.

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  1. sabrina

    the trick to get rid of the “fishy smell” is to soak the fish in salt and lemon juice for one hour and then rinse the fish and then cook it. Works for all kinds of fish.

  2. adrienne

    hehe red cooked fish! it’s the ketchup that gives it the redness! This is exactly how my mom makes it, always thought it was just something my mom came up with, but maybe it is a Cantonese region dish?

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