Asian Fish Sticks with Cilantro-Lime Sauce
Baking these panko-crusted tilapia filets at a high heat results in deliciously crunchy and flaky fish sticks without the fat or hassle of frying them. Try serving them with two dipping sauces; one comes pre-prepared and the other is a simple sauce to substitute for a traditional tartar sauce.
- 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds tilapia fillets (about 4 fillets)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Salt and pepper
- 1-1/2 cups panko
- 1/4 teaspoon kaffir lime powder or 1/2 teaspoon lime zest (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Sweet Thai chili sauce
- For the Cilantro-Lime Sauce:
- 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons cilantro (about 5 sprigs, leaves only)
Preheat the oven to 475°F with racks positioned in the top and bottom. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil, spray with nonstick spray and set aside.
Cut each tilapia fillet in half lengthwise down the center line. Halve again lengthwise, then across. Place the beaten egg, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Combine panko, lime powder or zest and oil in a separate bowl.
Dip the tilapia in egg first, then coat with the panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Arrange on the baking sheets and bake for about 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom rack every 4 minutes to ensure even browning.
In the meantime, combine lime juice, mayonnaise, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and cilantro leaves in a food processor. Pulse until well blended.
Serve the fish sticks with two bowls of dipping sauce: the cilantro-lime and some sweet Thai chili sauce.
Makes about 32 fish sticks
Kaffir lime powder is available from ImportFood.com. Made from the incredibly aromatic leaves of the kaffir lime tree, this powder packs a lot of citrusy, lime flavor with a very small quantity. It's a great ingredient to have on hand if you like making Thai cuisine. Of course you can substitute fresh lime zest if desired.