Instant Pot Tilapia Fish Curry can ease off your busy evenings so much. Tender fresh Tilapia fillets cooked in a mild coconut milk curry sauce, so juicy & a perfect candidate for hot rice. Just with a few ingredients & your instant pot or pressure cooker you can make dinner taste delicious & in no time at all. Stove top method is also included for your convenience.
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Instant Pot Tilapia Fish Curry Recipe
This instant Pot Tilapia fish curry is my go to recipe whenever I return late home after a busy day during the weekends. Or come back home dog tired after hauling all the best sales from the outlet 😀 😛
It’s sheer joy when I can fix a healthy dinner for my family all under 30 mins.
While prepping the fish curry I steam some rice & chop some salad to make a complete meal. It sounds good right? So, make it now, it’s damn easy 😉
This pressure cooker Tilapia fish curry will rock all our busy nights & lazy nights 😉
Because all you need to do is sweat off the onions, kill the raw smell of ginger & garlic, mix in the spices, throw in the tomato paste + coconut milk & pressure cook for only 2 mins.
The easy peasy curry sauce for the Tilpia fish is all ready.
It’s time to throw in the fish to the sauce & cook it for 1 more min. And you are all done.
15 mins is all you need for such a delicious pressure cooked fish curry.
Yes, you can add the fish directly to the sauce, no need to pan fry the fish before adding it to the curry.
Though you may pan fry the fish if you wish to. It’s all your choice, I did not pan roast the Tilapia & added directly as such.
Love cooking in an Instant Pot? Check out other Instant Pot recipes from Foodies Terminal.
Pro Tip: If you want to pan fry the fish before adding it to the curry sauce, just smear with turmeric & salt. Fry them over medium high heat until lightly golden.
Instant Pot Tilapia Fish Curry Ingredients
You’ll need these for the Instant Pot Tilapia Fish curry:
- Mains: Fresh or Frozen Tilapia fillets. If using frozen fish do not thaw them, cut them with kitchen scissors & add the frozen tilapia pieces directly to the curry sauce. The cooking time remains the same. We’ll do a natural pressure release (NPR) in the Instant pot or pressure cooker & the frozen fish will get fully cooked with the residual heat.
- Spices: Turmeric powder, paprika powder or Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder.
- Some kind of Oil: We love cooking the curry in extra virgin coconut oil because that mild aroma of the coconut oil adds so much depth to the coconut milk based curry sauce & accentuates the flavors manifold. You may replace the coconut oil in the recipe with any white oil of your choice.
- Curry base: Tomato puree or canned tomato sauce, coconut milk (fresh or canned).
- For tempering: Whole black mustard seeds & dried red whole chili. You may totally skip the tempering part & add chopped Serrano peppers instead for a mild kick.
- Rest: Onion & Ginger garlic paste. You may add chopped or minced ginger & garlic instead of a paste.
- Optional garnishes: Indian green chilies, cilantro.
Pro Tip: You may use fresh coconut milk. Make some at home by grating fresh coconut meat & squeezing it with your palm. You may use fresh tomato puree. Just grind fresh tomatoes. For better result you may boil 2 whole tomatoes, peel them & grind to make a fantastic home-made puree.
3 tips to make the best Instant Pot Tilapia Fish curry
- Saute on “NORMAL”: High settings on the SAUTE mode of the IP might be too much heat to handle because you’ll be cooking this curry with less oil. Hence, the ingredients might quickly stick to the bottom of the pan & burn.
- No more than 1 min on high pressure: After you add the raw fish to the curry sauce, cook it only for 1 min on High pressure. DO NOT exceed 1 min otherwise, the fish will break & scatter all over the gravy. Tilapia fish is very soft.
- Do NPR: After 1 min of cooking the fish on high pressure do a NPR (Natural pressure release). Even if you use chunky Tilapia fish steaks to make this same recipe they will get cooked with the residual heat when you do NPR. So, it’s 1 min on high pressure + NPR = Fully cooked Tilapia fillets or chunky tilapia steaks with skin on.
Pro Tip: Instant Pot Abbreviations in this post – NPR = Natural pressure release, QPR = Quick pressure release, IP = Instant Pot.
No more Fishy smell in your fishes, Do this
Yes, fish has a fishy smell but not fresh caught. Sometimes we do not have access to fresh caught fishes at all especially if we live inland.
The fishes that you see in your local supermarkets labelled as “Fresh wild caught” is nothing but frozen & thawed fish.
Yes, they did catch them fresh but the point when you buy them from the store they do not remain fresh any more 😀
Sometimes, the fish has a strange smell & tilapia tops the chart. To avoid this I have a small handy tip that works for me every single time.
Wash the fish fillets under cold running tap water several times until the slimy texture from the fishes completely vanishes.
Take a bowl, fill it up with room temperature water & add 2 tbsp of white cooking vinegar or Worcester sauce ( this measurement is for 1 pound fish fillet). Dip the fish fillets in that water for 15-20 mins.
You’ll have no more fishy smell in your fishes.
Step By Step Instant Pot Tilapia Fish Curry
Making the Tilapia fish curry sauce
I love tempering the hot coconut oil with whole mustard seeds & dried red chili. The sizzling, the aroma from the crackling seeds infuses the oil with a mild fragrance that’s so unbeatable.
If you want you may totally skip the tempering part altogether, but I would not recommend doing so, because it certainly makes a difference.
Just sweat off the onions & kill the raw smell of ginger garlic paste. The whole process should take you 3-4 mins.
In goes the spices + the tomato puree, Mix it well.
Pour in that gorgeous white creamy coconut milk, mix add water immediately. Pressure cook on high for 2 mins.
Cooking the Tilapia fish in the curry sauce
Do a QPR & the extremely delicious, gorgeous red color tilapia curry sauce is ready.
Throw in the raw fishes, pressure cook for 1 min. Do a NPR. The fish will use up the residual heat & reach the right amount of done-ness.
It will soak in all the flavors, become extra soft but not mushy.
Set the table, it’s time to holler your family to the dinner table 😀
Do not have an Instant Pot? No problem make it on Stove top
Follow the same recipe, just swap the Instant pot with a regular cooking pan, skillet or Kadai (Indian wok).
Do all the sauteing on your skillet over medium heat.
Simmer the curry sauce covered over medium low heat for 5 mins. Once done, add the tilapia fillets & cook everything covered for another 5 mins over low heat.
Garnish with cilantro & slit green chilies. This part is totally optional. You may skip it without any worries 🙂
Serve with hot rice, enjoy!
Like Fish ? Find the featured fish recipes by Meghna for Foodies TerminalBy Meghna
Instant Pot Tilapia Fish Curry
- 680 gms Fresh Tilapia Fillets without skin (1.50 pounds)
- 2 medium onion (chopped)
- 1/3 cup Tomato Puree
- 3/4 cup Coconut Milk
- 1/2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 tsp Paprika Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
- 3 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
- 2 dried whole red chilies (optional)
- Salt (to taste)
- Press the SAUTE button on your Instant Pot & set it to NORMAL. It automatically sets for 30 mins.
- Add coconut oil to the pot, when the oil becomes hot throw in the mustard seeds & the dried chilies. Allow them to sizzle for a few seconds.
- Next, add the chopped onion & sweat them off. it should take you about 2 mins. Add salt to catalyze the process.
- Now, add the ginger garlic paste & saute until raw smell of the paste disappears. It should take you another 2 mins or so.
- Throw in all the spices + the tomato puree. Mix & saute for 1 min.
- Add the coconut milk & little water about 1/2 cup (add more if you like very thin gravy).
- Cancel the SAUTE mode. Close the lid of the IP, seal the valve by moving it to the SEALING position.
- Press the PRESSURE COOK button, set the timer for 2 mins & set it on HIGH.
- After 2 mins when the IP starts to beep. Do a QPR (quick pressure release) & open the lid. The curry sauce is ready, it’s time to add the fish.
- Now, add the fish fillets. At this point if you feel that the gravy is not enough to hold all the fish fillets just add a little bit water or may be some more coconut milk diluted with water.
- Close the lid of the IP. Seal the valve. Press the PRESSURE COOK button. Set the timer for 1 mins & set it to HIGH.
- After 1 min when the IP begins to beep. Wait for NPR (natural pressure release) wait until the floating valve in your IP drops.
- Open the lid carefully. You may garnish with cilantro & slit Indian green chilies if you want. Serve with rice. Enjoy!
Stove top Method
- Follow the same recipe, replace the Instant Pot with a skillet or Kadai.
- Do the sauteing over medium heat.
- Simmer the curry sauce covered over medium low heat for 5 mins.
- Add the raw fish fillets. Cook everything covered over low heat for 5 mins.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro & green chilies. Enjoy!
- IF using FROZEN TILAPIA: No need to thaw the fish, you can directly add it to the curry sauce & pressure cook it. In this case reduce the amount of water because the frozen fish will release lots of water.
- Tilapia fish is very soft so DO NOT extend the 1 min pressure cooking time.
- If using TILAPIA FISH STEAKS: Follow the same recipe. The NPR & the residual heat will allow the fish steaks to get fully cooked.
- You may increase or decrease the coconut milk in this recipe according to your liking.
- STORING SUGGESTIONS: This Instant pot tilapia fish curry stays good for 3 days in the fridge when stored in an air tight container. It’s NOT FREEZABLE.
- SERVING IDEAS: Tastes best with hot white rice.
- INSTANT POT ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE POST: IP = Instant pot ; QPR = Quick Pressure Release ; NPR = Natural Pressure Release.
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