Tilapia fish salad

Tilapia is a white fish similar to cod and works wonderfully with the sweet and sour tamarind dressing in this dish
By Luke Nguyen
Tilapia fish salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4 as part of a shared meal
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes plus time to cook pork belly
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 200 g tilapia, dried if available
  • 1 tbsp super fine caster sugar
  • 1 small cucumber, halved lengthways then seeded and finely sliced
  • 2 shallots, red if available, finely chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into long, thin strips
  • 100 g pork belly, cooked and finely sliced
  • 1 handful mixed mint and basil leaves
  • 1 tsp unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chilli, sliced

Tips and Suggestions

To make tamarind water, soak 100g tamarind pulp in 400ml boiling water. Break it up a little with a whisk, then leave until cool enough to handle. Using your hands, break the mixture into a thick paste. Pass the mixture through a sieve; you should get about 375ml of tamarind water.

Palm sugar is available from some supermarkets and Asian retailers.


1. Combine the sweet and sour tamarind dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

2. Fry 1 teaspoon of the shallots and 2 cloves of garlic and set aside.

3. Heat a barbecue chargrill or chargrill pan to medium. Chargrill the fish over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Allow to cool.

4. Combine the sugar and cucumber in a bowl and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

5. Tear the flesh from the fish, discarding the bones. Place the fish in a large mixing bowl.

6. Squeeze the juice out of the cucumber, then add to the fish, along with the shallot, carrot, pork belly, rau dang and mixed mint leaves.

7. Dress with 1 tablespoon of the sweet and sour tamarind dressing and toss together. Transfer the mixture to a serving platter.

8. Drizzle with another tablespoon of the dressing. Garnish with the peanuts, fried garlic, fried shallots and chilli and serve immediately.

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