Thai-inspired tilapia ceviche with sesame-infused avocado, grapefruit and roasted peanuts

September 15, 2017
Thai-inspired tilapia ceviche with sesame-infused avocado, grapefruit and roasted peanuts

Recipes by Annabel Hughes & SavannaBel –

Thai-inspired tilapia ceviche with sesame-infused avocado, grapefruit and roasted peanuts

Serves: Serves 12, as an appetiser
Cooking Time: 1 hr + 6 hrs, to cure



  • 12 x 50g fresh tilapia fillets
  • 1 large stalk fresh lemongrass, hard outer layer removed + finely sliced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • zest of 2 limes + juice of 4
  • 90ml (6 tbsp) fish sauce
  • 3 heaped teaspoons sugar
  • 2 chillies, thinly sliced with some seeds removed (dependent on the heat)
  • 2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) fish sauce
  • 20ml (4 tsp) unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 5ml (1 tsp) runny honey
  • 180ml (¾ cup) olive oil
  • 5ml (1 tsp) toasted sesame oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 medium-sized, ripe avocados
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh lime juice
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled, segmented and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 English cucumbers, sliced lengthways into 24 thin slices using a mandolin/vegetable peeler (to serve), with the remainder chopped neatly into small cubes
  • ½ cup peanuts, dry-roasted and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh Thai basil and coriander, roughly chopped

  • edible flowers and fresh herbs like viola, nasturtium, onion flowers, rocket, dill, fennel, basil, coriander (enough for each plate)
  • 24 spring onion sticks (only the green part), about 10 – 15cm long
  • 2 – 3 fresh/pickled radishes, finely-sliced (about 2 pieces per plate)



For the ceviche, fillet the tilapia, cut into neat, bite-sized cubes and refrigerate, while preparing the remaining ingredients.


Combine the lemongrass, garlic, lime zest and juice, fish sauce and sugar in a blender, and blitz to a smooth purée. Taste and adjust accordingly, bearing in mind that the mixture should be evenly balanced between sour, salty, bitter and sweet.


Pour the mixture over the fish. Carefully stir in the chillies and shallots, making sure everything is well covered. Leave the mixture in the fridge, about 4 – 6 hours to cure.


For the sesame dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together until the oil is fully incorporated. Set aside until needed.


To make the salad, chop the avocados neatly into small cubes and drizzle with 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh lime juice. Carefully combine with the grapefruit and cucumber cubes, being careful not to mush the avocado pieces. Spoon over a little dressing (according to taste), mix through again and set aside until needed.


To plate, lay down two cucumber slices as a base per serving. Pile the ceviche and salad ingredients neatly and evenly on top, drizzling a little more of the sesame dressing over the fish. Sprinkle the roasted peanuts and Thai basil-coriander mix atop, and garnish with spring onion sticks, edible flowers, herbs and fresh/pickled radishes.


Any freshly caught soft white fish will work in this dish, as will any selection of colourful edible flowers.

More delicious recipes from Elephant Café:

Mbwiila hummus with “bush” dukkah

Muchingachinga mess with lavender flowers

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