Cabbage–Wrapped Tilapia in Coconut Milk

Presentation is key, as the old saying goes. Wrapped dishes make presenting a beautiful, yet delicious meal look easy. This simple recipe, with just a few fresh ingredients, will impress even the pickiest of your guests.

1 large head Napa cabbage, approximately 1 1/2 pounds
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon chopped Thai chili
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
4 tilapia fillets, approximately 1 1/2 pounds
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 to 10 chives, 5 to 7 inches long
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup fish stock
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 small bay leaf

Tear off two large cabbage leaves for fillet. Cut off the stiff white rib that runs through the center of each leaf so that you have the tender green leaves to wrap the fish. Reserve the ribs for your next soup, sauté, or stir-fry. Set the leaves aside.

Combine the green onions, garlic, ginger, lime zest, chile, and olive oil in a small bowl. Stir to mix. Lay a cabbage leaf on your work surface. Place a piece of tilapia in the center of the leaf and season with salt and pepper. Spread a teaspoon of the green canyon mixture on top of the tilapia. Wrapped a cabbage around the fish so that it is completely covered. Use a second cabbage leaf if necessary. Secure the cabbage around the fish by tying a long tie around the wrapped fish like a ribbon. Continue wrapping the remaining fillets.

Place the wrapped fish in a single layer in a 12-inch skillet. Pour in the coconut milk, fish broth, fish sauce, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 7 to 9 minutes until the fish is cooked through and is flaky. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Adjust the seasonings with the fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer wrapped fish onto a serving platter and pour the sauce over the fish. Serve with steamed rice.

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