Thai Food Recipe: Grilled Tilapia Fish (Pla Nin or Phao)

Salted, Grilled Fish (Tilapia) in Thai, Pla Phao, Pla Pow, Pla Nin

Salted and Grilled Fish stuffed with Lemongrass. Pla Phao, Pla Pow or Pla Nin (Tilapia or Nile Perch)


1 tilapia fish (also known as Nile Perch) Can use any other gentle tasting fish as substitute.
1/2 cup rock salt
1/3 cup wheat flour
1 group lemongrass
2 pandanus leaves


2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced chili pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. hot water
1 tsp. minced coriander root


Cooking Instructions:

1. Clean the fish very well. Open its stomach, throw away the inside parts and clean.

2. Crush the lemongrass and pandanus leaves. Fold and tuck it inside the stomach.

3. Mix wheat flour and salt together. Add 3 tbsp. water.

4. Cover all over the fish with the mixed.

5. Grill it. You should check it often because cooking time is vary, depending the heat you make.

6. If the meat still clear, the fish is not ready yet. The meat should be totally white but make sure the meat is still soft. When you over cook it the meat will be hard and it doesn’t taste sweet at all.

7. Mix the sauce ingredients altogether. Add more or less spice as you like. Then, dress it with mint or coriander leaves.


This is one of our favorite food in northeast of Thailand. We always got it once a week and it was not expensive at all. My husband told me I should put the recipe in my blog because most people don’t know how to cook it this way. I think you should try if you can find some fresh fish, doesn’t matter what kind but tilapia will taste the best. It doesn’t have many bones. When the fish is fresh, you can taste the sweetness from the meat and there’s no fishy smell because lemongrass helped get rid of it. Be careful not to overcook it as the meat has a burnt taste.

I remembered the Crown Prince Akihito from Japan gave this 50 Nile Tilapia to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which was the first time that Nile tilapia got into Thailand. Then the King introduced it to us, Thai people, to do tilapia farm. Now, we can have it all year and cheap!

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

4 thoughts on “Thai Food Recipe: Grilled Tilapia Fish (Pla Nin or Phao)”

  1. Thank you for this. This is a recipe for Talapia I have not tried.Today though I am cooking pomfret in tamarind

    Do you have a recipe for ba lah please


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