Tilapia with Chile Garlic Orange Relish

So I've got a food related confession. Gluten and I don't get along very well. Actually, it's more of a gluten sensitivity. After over a decade of demystifying some health issues I've been having, it was suggested that I try a gluten free lifestyle. Granted, it's only been a week but even after a few days, I've noticed a difference. By adapting a gluten free diet, it's like this filter is slowly being removed and allowing me to feel better day by day. The best part in all this is that my family is supporting me and adapting to a gluten free lifestyle and diet as well. So to debut my new gluten-free friendly approach, I made this Tilapia with Chile Garlic Orange Relish which was delicious with steamed rice. Pan fried tilapia is topped with a sweet and spicy relish of mandarin oranges, fresh cilantro and a bit of chile garlic sauce. This dish captures the best of sweet and spicy all in a relatively quick and simple recipe...

As a result of this gluten free lifestyle change, my view of cooking, baking and eating are changing as well. I've cleaned out my pantry of most gluten-laden products by donating them to family. I did keep some things for entertaining, since I'm not going to subject everyone to a gluten free diet with the amount of entertaining I do.

The one gluten item I will keep in my diet is soy sauce for now. (I'm planning on testing out tamari as a substitute soon.) I seem to do okay with small amounts of gluten (at least with small amounts of soy sauce) but I've decided to omit pretty much everything else. I've also adapted recipes to be gluten free friendly and going forward, you'll see these recipes here. Not all recipes I'll be posting will be gluten friendly but many will be. Since it will be peak baking season in a few weeks, I'm still learning the ways of gluten free baking which is overwhelming at the moment. However, I'll be making note of gluten free substitutions as needed.

Now onto this special recipe...There's a wonderful network of women who love to cook and bake which I'm a part of virtually. We have grown over the years and although we haven't all met each other in person, there's a sense of familiarity and camaraderie. Sarah is someone I have met in person a few years ago while she was visiting family here in Chicago and she spearheads a recipe swap for the group. Within this recipe swap, those participating submit a recipe based on the given theme and Sarah assigns the recipes for another person to make. I was given this recipe that was submitted by Jaida of Sweet Beginnings. This is my first time participating and was excited to make this!

The original recipe involved a beer batter in which the fish was dipped in before frying. To make this gluten free friendly, I omitted the beer batter and substituted the all purpose flour with rice flour. If you want to try the beer batter version, please check out Jaida's site with the link below. I liked how this recipe allows you to adjust the heat/spice level according to your tastes. If you don't have chile garlic sauce or have difficulty finding it, you can also substitute it with Sriracha (a hot chile sauce that may be more commonly found.) This went exceptionally well with steamed rice.

Be sure to check out A Taste of Home Cooking for the round-up of all the seafood recipes...

Tilapia with Chile Garlic Orange Relish
recipe adapted from Sweet Beginnings

Vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour
4 tilapia fillets, about 5 oz each
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or Sriracha sauce or to taste*
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained & chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves

Place 1/4 cup flour in shallow dish for dredging.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat enough oil to shallow-fry the fish.
Season both sides of the fish with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the flour, coating both sides and shaking of any excess flour.

Add fish to the hot oil and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain oil.

While fish is cooking, mix the lemon juice and garlic sauce in a bowl, then add oranges and cilantro and mix together. Serve sauce over the fish.

*Adjust this amount according to your tolerance for spice


  1. I am too late to read this recipe, I prepared tilapia sinigang sa bayabas (guava soup) if ever I read this recipe this maybe my lunch today...anyway I still have tomorrow =)

  2. good luck with the new life style. Can;t imagine how tough to tell a great cook that you have to limit ingredients would be,

    I have a nephew with gluten sensitivity so i am trying out a few new recipes whenever he comes to visit. Will be keeping an eye out for your new posts


  3. I love sriracha and I'm always looking for new ways to make tilapia...especially flavorful tilapia :) Looks wonderful!!

  4. This looks incredibly good. On the menu for this weekend.

  5. Love your recipe, the chili garlic orange relish sounds delicious. Good luck with your new lifestyle, more and more people are finding out that a lot of their health issues have to do with gluten.