Poached Tilapia in Hot and Sour Sauce

Written by

January 29, 2020

Adapted by The Washington Post, October 11, 2006, from 101 Quick & Delicious Recipes, a 2006 collection of Fine Cooking magazine recipes. It was originally written for Chilean sea bass.

I usually prefer to purchase fish that is non-farm raised, but i recently read that tilapia is one of the more sustainable fish that we should aim to use. The fish picks up flavor quickly from this quick and tasty broth. The soy sauce step may be omitted for those who prefer less sodium. Serve it in the broth, as pictured, or with thin ribbons of herbed seedless cucumber or atop a mound of jasmine rice or brown rice.

4 to 5 servings


1 to 2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 pounds tilapia or Chilean sea bass fillets, 1 inch thick, pin bones removed (may substitute mild-flavored, firm-fleshed fish such as cod or halibut)
4 cups homemade or low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
12 quarter-size slices from a 2 1/2-inch piece of ginger root
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
1/4 cup (1 bunch) finely chopped scallions, both white and light green parts, for garnish
1/4 cup (about 6 sprigs) coarsely chopped cilantro, for garnish


  1. Drizzle the soy sauce on both sides of the fish fillets. Cover and refrigerate while you make the hot and sour broth.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the chicken broth, honey, tomato paste, cider vinegar, ginger and hot pepper sauce and cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming foam as necessary. Add the fillets, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the fish is slightly firm to the touch and the center is almost opaque (make a small slit with a knife to check; the fish will not be fully cooked at this point). Turn off the heat and let the fish sit in the broth for 2 minutes.
  3. Divide the fish and the broth evenly among individual shallow soup bowls. Sprinkle generously with scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately.