Skip to main content New<> this month
Get the Allrecipes magazine

Fried Whole Tilapia with Basil and Chilies

Rated as 4.62 out of 5 Stars

"Nothing is more stunning at the dinner table than serving a whole fried fish with a fragrant unctuous sauce. Caution should be used when deep frying the fish; make sure you have plenty of room and a big pot. Serve with steamed jasmine rice."
Added to shopping list. Go to shopping list.


35 m servings 368
Original recipe yields 4 servings (1 whole fish)


{{model.addEditText}} Print
  1. Heat 1 quart oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). If you do not have a thermometer, then dip the head of the fish into the oil; if it sizzles, it is ready, if it does not sizzle, then wait a couple minutes and try again.
  2. Rinse the fish and dry well. Make several angled slits along the body of the fish, cutting down to the rib bones. Make two lateral slits along the back of the fish, from head to tail, on either side of the dorsal fin. These cuts will ensure quick cooking and maximum crispiness.
  3. Gently slip the fish into the oil and fry until crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the fish from the oil and let it drain on paper towels. Place on a large serving platter.
  4. While the fish drains, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Cook and stir the chili peppers, garlic, and onion in the hot oil until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the fish sauce and soy sauce into the mixture, remove from heat, and fold the Thai basil and cilantro into the mixture. Pour the sauce over the fish to serve.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 368 calories; 30.1 9.2 16.6 26 1033 Full nutrition

Explore more


Read all reviews 5
Most helpful
Most positive
Least positive

Exactly what I was looking for! I had whole fried tilapia in an Asian restaurant once and was sure that there was something trickier than just frying it; but no there isn't! I used canola to hea...

Much better grilled and just as "stunning at the dinner table". Fried.... Very Unhealthy. Sauce is tasty, tasty.

looks awesome i will definetely try it,it has an asian twist,and i love fish. thanks wiley

The fish was delicious and crispy. Make sure you ease back on the soy sauce if you are using regular instead of light.

I used croaker instead of tilapia and added oyster and Asian chili sauce to kick up the flavor. Great taste!