If you think you’ve eaten too much meat during the Christmas weekend and you want something lighter and healthier for the New Year weekend, fish is a good alternative.
This tilapia and asparagus with spicy Japanese mayo dish was inspired by the asparagus with spicy mayo that we enjoyed at Miyabi Japanese Restaurant a couple of weeks ago.
The prep time is almost negligible and the cooking time is a mere 10 minutes but the dish is packed with flavors and playful textures.
First, some tips.
To make sure that the asparagus retains some of its crispiness, don’t skip the part about dumping the boiled asparagus in iced water. If you don’t, they will continue to cook in the residual heat inside them.
Don’t take short cuts by adding the salt and pepper to the flour and then dredging the tilapia fillets in them. Sprinkle salt and pepper directly on the fillets then rub the salt and pepper to work them into the fish flesh.
Dredging in flour helps prevent oil spatter. The flour also creates a light and crispy coating. But don’t overdo it. If the coating is too thick, it will dilute the flavors of the fish. And, instead of a light and crispy crust, you’ll get something like a hard biscuit.
So, dredge the tilapia fillets lightly in flour and remember to shake off the excess.
- 6 tilapia fillets seasoned lightly with salt and pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 600 grams baby asparagus
- 2 hard boiled eggs shelled and roughly chopped
- 2 cups vegetable cooking oil for frying
Place the asparagus in a shallow pan. Pour in about ½ c. of water. Sprinkle with a little salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for about five minutes. Dump the asparagus in a bowl if iced water to stop the cooking. Strain well. Divide into six portions and arrange at the center of six dinner plates.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan until slightly smoking. Dredge each tilapia fillet in flour; shake off the excess. Fry in the hot oil (in batches, if necessary) until golden brown, flipping the fillets halfway through the cooking to brown both sides evenly.
Drain the tilapia fillets on absorbent kitchen paper then arrange on top of the asparagus. Spoon the sauce over the tilapia fillets and asparagus. Sprinkle the chopped hard boiled eggs over the sauce. Serve at once.
For the sauce:
1-1/2 c. of Japanese mayonnaise mixed with 6 tsps. of hot chili sauce (I used Mama Sita; you many need more or less than 6 tbsps. depending on the spiciness of your brand of sauce and your level of tolerance for spicy food)