Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

This quick fish dinner with citrusy coconut flavor requires only about 6 minutes on the stove — a great option for steamy nights.


I love cooking but some nights I just want to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. Like last night. I had other more ambitious plans for dinner, but decided to go easy on myself. Opening the refrigerator fruit drawer, I spied an orange, lemon, and half a lime. And, I knew I had some coconut flakes somewhere. Decision made: Citrusy Coconut Tilapia.

Here’s how it looks going into the pan. Pretty, isn’t it? I love those little flecks of green, orange, and yellow.

coconut citrus tilapia ready for the pan

My sides were easy too. I sliced some cabbage and onions, chopped garlic and ham, pulled out my homemade slow-roasted tomatoes, and started adding them all to the pan in stages. First the onions, then garlic, and then the rest. It’s not pretty but it’s tasty. And, once again, Uncle Ben’s 90-second brown, red, and black rice came to the rescue. I usually stay away from processed food, but, well, I’m human.

This citrusy coconut topping would be great on roasted shrimp too. Or, top a few flattened chicken breasts with it and prepare them the same way as the fish.

coconut citrus tilapia ready for dinner

Citrusy Coconut Tilapia

You’ll need two plates, one wide shallow bowl, and a medium-sized skillet. I use a microplane rasp to zest my citrus fruit.

Serves 2. Double the recipe for four fillets, except still only use one egg.

  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut – my store only has sweetened so that’s what I use
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • Zest of 1/2 of an orange, lime and lemon, finely chopped or shredded
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 fillets tilapia or the fish of your choice
  • Canola oil

Mix together the breadcrumbs, coconut, ginger, and fruit zests on a plate or wide shallow bowl.

In another wide bowl, beat together the egg and milk. Add salt and pepper.

Add flour to another plate. Dredge both sides of the fish in the flour. Shake off any excess and smooth the flour evenly over the fish. Dip both sides of each piece into the egg mixture. Then, dredge both sides with the citrus/coconut mixture.

Cook the fish in oil on medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they’re cooked through and the coating is golden, but not too dark.


1 year ago on Gusto: Roasted Green Lightning Shrimp

2 years ago: Kohlrabi Parmesan

3 years ago: Cauliflower Faux Fried Rice

4 years ago: Watermelon Cucumber Salad

5 years ago: Fish with Coconut Red Curry Sauce

6 years ago: Corn Salad and Plum Clafouti

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