Are you looking for a twist on a traditional Vietnamese Tilapia grilled fish recipe? This Keto Turmeric Tilapia with Tahini combines two pantry staples – turmeric and tahini to bring together this fast and easy George Foreman grilled tilapia. This recipe is best served on a bed of spinach.
My sister and I have always loved Vietnamese food. This recipe is a low carb and keto friendly tweak on the traditional Vietnamese Tilapia recipe. Vietnamese Tilapia (also known as Cha ca la vong) is a dish famous in Hanoi that is grilled fish, marinated in spices like turmeric and usually served with a shrimp paste sauce or peanut dressing. The traditional recipe uses some hard to source ingredients and takes a while to prepare. However, my recipe uses just three main ingredients – turmeric, tahini and spinach which can be quite easy to source in any grocery store.
Making Tilapia Recipe
As a radiation oncologist, I’ve always been quite intrigued with the various benefits of turmeric for treatment of skin conditions post cancer treatments. However, as a working mother, I’m also interested in whipping up healthy but relatively easy to make weeknight meals. Here’s what you need to make the keto turmeric tilapia with tahini recipe.
George Foreman Grill: I have a small George Foreman grill, which truly is easy to use. I’ve had it for over 8 years and have never had an issue with it. It is the easiest way to grill something. I don’t have to worry about the fish becoming too cooked, charred, or flaking away and falling between grates. But if you have more experience grilling fish traditionally on a coal or gas grill, I’m sure this recipe would work just as well. You could also try the recipe in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Tilapia fillets: Tilapia is an easy fish to cook. Search for fillets with relatively uniform thickness and a good size to fit on your grill or frying pan.
- Turmeric: The easiest way to get a large amount of turmeric is at a local Asian-style grocery. Our local Indian store, the Patel Brothers, sells turmeric in large bags. Turmeric at Asian stores is usually 30% or more cheaper per ounce than the same spice in regular grocery stores, like my Kroger.
- Spinach: Pop some crunch and veggies in this meal by serving the fish over an attractive bed of spinach.
- Tahini sauce: Tahini is sweet but low carb and brings out more of the turmeric flavoring. I can easily find it at my Kroger.
For a spicier flavor, use cumin or a hot spice mix instead of turmeric. You can also substitute the tilapia with any other white meat fish like halibut or swordfish. If Tahini isn’t easily available, use sriracha, mayochup, or a thinned yogurt as sauce instead of tahini.
- Evenly spread turmeric onto each side of the tilapia fillets. Turmeric infuses the tilapia with a sweeter, zesty flavor but is also quite potent. Small is better when it comes to this spice which is why I recommend not using more than two teaspoons in my recipe. It also forms a thin coating over the tilapia which helps seals the coating and retain some moisture as it grills.
- Grill in a George Foreman grill for about 8 minutes, or place in a frying pan over medium heat for 6 minutes per side. Take care not to overcook the tilapia. Tilapia cooks very quickly and just 1-2 minutes on each side should be quite sufficient. If overcooked, tilapia becomes dry and chewy.
- Serve over a bed of spinach with Tahini sauce on top.
I love eating fish with spinach to add some crunch, but there are many other options. You could pair this with roasted cauliflower or broccoli, or serve with a rich Caesar salad, or a hearty soup.
This cooked fish stores easily sealed in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Turmeric is an herb from the ginger family. It is native to southern and south western tropical Asia regions.
Curcumin, the most active ingredient in turmeric, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Keto Turmeric Tilapia with Tahini
- George Foreman Grill
- Frying Pan (Optional)
- 8 oz Tilapia ,cut into two 4 oz fillets
- 2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 3 cups Baby Spinach Leaves
- 1 Tbsp Tahini Sauce
- Plug in your George Foreman grill, start preheating your frying pan, or otherwise prepare your grilling surface.
- Sprinkle ½ tsp turmeric onto one side of one tilapia fillet. Hold the fillet in your hands and massage the turmeric into the fish with your thumbs. It may be gunky and clumpy initially, but keep massaging over 1-2 minutes. It will form a thin paste and coat the tilapia. Repeat on the other sides of the tilapia fillets, for a total of 4 sides. Make sure to also cover the sides of the tilapia.
- Place the fillets on your cooking surface and cook over medium heat until the fish is opaque and readily flaky with a fork. If not using a George Foreman grill, flip the fish halfway through cooking, probably about 6 minutes per side.
- Remove the fish from heat. Place each fillet on 1.5 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves. Serve with ½ tbsp Tahini with each fillet.