Friday, August 05, 2011

Puxa Vuda Tilapia

Yay for finally making this recipe! We were going to make it on a night that we ended up getting invited to dinner at a friend's house, and guess what was on the menu that night at their house?!? Tilapia. But in a different and uniquely yummy way. I'll have to try that particular recipe some other time because today we are focusing on Puxa Vida Tilapia!

Now the terms "puxa vida" are Galician for "life pulls". Where/what is Galicia you ask? I looked it up because I was intrigued. It is an autonomous community in Northwest Spain. The Galician language, as well as Portuguese, descends from the medieval Galician-Portuguese Romance language. Cool huh? Apparently a more colloquial translation of "puxa vida" means, "wow"! Which I can totally understand in this recipe's case. Because it most definitely has wow factor. 

Now the original recipe calls for coconut milk in place of my cow's milk addition, which I'm afraid I did not think ahead to buy, so I'm very curious to try it and taste the difference. I can only imagine how wonderful coconut milk will taste in this dish! Let me just take a moment to talk about the brilliant addition of honey. Never before had I thought to add honey to a fish recipe, but it is AWESOME! The combo of heat from the peppers, and sweet from the honey will knock your socks off. Michael and I are now determined to not let this be the last time we've made Puxa Vida Tilapia. Because I think we might be in love. 

For those of you who are afraid of that "fishy" taste most fish recipes still have even after slatherings of mayo and other creamy toppings, consider this recipe. The tilapia cooks in all that yummy liquid from the veggies and seasonings, and you barely even have the hint of "fishy-ness" when you take a bite. Like Cheeky Kitchen suggested, this could be a great way to introduce fish to picky eaters, young and old alike. Serve it alongside black beans seasoned with cumin, garlic, and oregano and you have a very simple and healthy dinner!

Puxa Vida Tilapia
(adapted from Cheeky Kitchen)

1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion
, diced
1 serrano chili pepper, seeds removed

2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup milk
1 large tomato, diced
1 tbs. honey
3 tbs. lemon juice
2 filets of tilapia

1 tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Finely chop the green bell pepper, onion, serrano chili, and garlic. Drizzle the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the chopped vegetable mixture in the oil until softened, about 2-3 minutes. 
  2. Add the milk, diced tomatoes, and honey to the mixture. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and allow the sauce to simmer until it thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Add lemon juice to the sauce and remove from heat.
  3. Place the tilapia in a deep baking dish. Pour the sauce over the fish, making sure it's all well coated. 
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when pulled with a fork. Garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley. Enjoy!
- You can use any color bell pepper, but I like green for contrast with the redness of the tomatoes.
- I used a serrano chili pepper because that is what I had on hand, but jalapeno would be great in its place, and cut down on the hotness factor.
- As mentioned above, coconut milk would add a nice "coastal" flavor to this, and a whole different level of sweetness!
- You could also substitute lime juice for the lemon juice.

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