Chili's Firecracker Tilapia copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
Zoom image

Chili's Firecracker Tilapia

Score: 5.00. Votes: 4
In stock (1 item available)
  • $0.00

Menu Description: "A grilled tilapia fillet brushed with a sweet and spicy glaze and garnished with red chili tapenade, cilantro and sesame seeds."

Here's a great way to prepare that next batch of fresh fish fillets when you're contemplating a new taste. If you and your diners love spicy food this is the perfect clone, since the top secret glaze and tapenade recipes I've included here both come packing heat. You can make the sauces several hours—or even days—ahead of time, and then when you're ready to eat, the fish will cook up in less than 10 minutes. Chili's calls this "grilled" tilapia on the menu, but don't expect to find grill marks on the fish. It appears the restaurant uses a flat griddle or saute pan to cook the fish, since the tender tilapia would fall through the grate on a barbecue grill. Don't limit this recipe to tilapia. The intense glaze and tapenade will perk up a variety of fish fillets, from sea bass to salmon.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

This recipe is available in

Get This

Sweet & Spicy Glaze
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup Kikkoman hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Red Chile Tapenade
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) bottled pimentos (sliced or diced), with liquid
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Sesame seeds
  • Minced cilantro
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
    • Instructions

      1. Make sweet and spicy glaze by sauteing garlic for 1 minute in 1 teaspoon of oil over medium/low heat in a small saucepan. Add all the remaining ingredients, except rice vinegar, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until thick. Add rice vinegar, and then remove the sauce from the heat. Cover until needed.

      2. Make the red chile tapenade by sauteing garlic, red bell pepper, and onions in the oil over medium low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Combine bottled pimentos with 1/2 cup water in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Add pureed pimentos, plus the remaining ingredients (including the leftover 1 cup of water) to the saucepan and simmer for 45 minute to an hour or until the liquid has cooked off and the mixture is a thick paste. Cover and cool.

      3. Preheat a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Brush both sides of tilapia fillets with melted butter, then sprinkle the fish with a little salt and pepper. Cook the fillets in a preheated pan for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until golden brown. When the fish is done, use a spatula to place each fillet on a serving plate and brush the top of each fillet with the glaze. Spoon a couple teaspoons of tapenade onto the center of each fillet, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and minced cilantro. Serve the fish with rice and vegetables, or your choice of sides.

      Serves 4.

Average rating:

Score: 5.00. Votes: 4
Rating of votes (4)
4 customers
0 customers
0 customers
0 customers
0 customers
Feb 22, 2009, 22:00

It is amazing. Wish it was a little more spicy. But otherwise it's perfect

Nov 1, 2007, 22:00

This was very good, I will definitely make it many times. I might even try it with chicken instead of fish:)

I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

What's Hot
Drop items here to shop
Product has been added to <a href="?target=cart">your cart</a>