My dad had some Tilapia and wanted to make it for us for dinner. The problem was he didn't know how to prepare it. I offered some suggestions but my dad and I are different sort of cooks. I like to just throw things together and recipes are ideas and guidelines (inspiration). For my dad a recipe offers a certain comfort that a dish will be good. He doesn't really like to substitute or vary from the recipe. He has dishes he has cooked most of my life that he still needs the recipes for. It's not a bad thing, it's just different.
So when I began offering suggestions to my dad, he wanted a recipe. We did a quick search and found Braised Tilapia in Caramel Sauce.
My dad had me cook the fish so I didn't quite follow the recipe (does that shock you?). First thing I did was make the sauce in a saucepan. I dipped the raw fish in the sauce and fried it on an oiled griddle (can use a frying pan). I brought the sauce back to boiling so that all the raw fish stuff would be cooked. I served the fish with the sauce drizzled over it. The reason I did this was I was concerned that the sauce would not be good and would ruin the fish. The sauce is great. It's not what I thought it would be but it's still a good sauce. My first sample of the sauce got me laughing because it tastes a lot like teriyaki sauce. It's a little more complicated than my basic teriyaki but it's worth the trouble.
I will share that my family really likes fish sauce in cooking. We're not quite to the point we can use it as a condiment. Fish sauce is always gluten free so it's great for those avoiding gluten. It does have a strong smell but I found that it's flavor is more mild than it feels like it should be. It tastes like soy sauce with a hint of fish but when serving it on fish you don't notice it at all.
Tilapia is a nice, firm white fish. It's often inexpensive (compared to other fish). It has a mild flavor, making it perfect for sauces. It's great just fried in butter with seasoned salt and pepper. Because it's firm, it fries beautifully and could easily be breaded and deep fried.