Tilapia in a Chile Guajillo-Pequin Sauce

Tilapia in a chile guajillo pequin sauce

In between holiday meals, it is good to have “go to” quick meals that satisfy, and that are good for us, too. I try to prepare meals that include fish at least once a week. I keep dried chile peppers in my pantry at all times and use them in a variety of dishes. This is also a great way to use up any sauces or salsas you may have left over. I like making them ahead of time and keep them stored in the refrigerator for quick weeknight dinners.

Yields 4 servings

For the Tilapia:
10 chile guajillo, stems and seeds removed
10 to 12 pequin chile peppers
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 small white onion, cut into quarters
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Knorr chicken bouillon
Salt and pepper
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tilapia fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)

For the Zucchini:
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup homemade or store-bought salsa verde

Avocado, cut into wedges
Lime, cut into quarters
Cilantro, chopped

Chili Pequin

On a trip to North Carolina, I was soo excited to find a Mexican grocery store that was filled with all my favorite chiles! A few of my family members in Mexico have chile pequin plants and they take care of them as if they were gold! LOL! We love our chile pequin.


1. Transfer the guajillos, pequin chiles, onion, and garlic to a glass bowl. Cover with water and cook in the microwave for 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Remove from microwave, cover and let cool slightly.

2. Drain the pepper mixture and transfer to the blender, add the oregano, cumin, Knorr bouillon, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper, and water. Blend until smooth, taste for salt.

3. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the chile sauce from the blender and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let sauce cook for 6 to 8 minutes.

4. While the sauce is simmering, in another skillet, add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium heat. Add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook for just 2 to 3 minutes. Add the salsa verde and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep warm.

5. Add the tilapia to the simmering chile sauce and make sure fish is covered completely. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until fish is flaky. Serve fish with chile sauce and top with zucchini. Garnish with cilantro, avocado slices, cilantro and a side of rice and beans.

Note: Any firm white fish will work with this recipe. If you cannot find chile pequin, you can substitute with a few chile de arbol or 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes, depending on your heat level preference.
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