Southwestern Chili Seafood Sauce

I didn’t want to burn Kevin’s mouth with my overly spicy palette, but I also wasn’t quite in the mood for something as tame as oregano or seasoned salt. Thus, a mix of both.


  • Cilantro – the kind I found was not only organic but a paste which keeps longer
  • Lime Juice
  • Chili Sauce – literally 1 packet of Panda Express Chili Sauce for both filets

Meal Prep

Any time I season fish, and I may even start doing this with chicken too, I blot it mostly dry with paper towels. I’m not super concerned with a little dampness still within, but I apply pressure to the surfaces to ensure the top is as dry as possible to apply seasonings. I’ve noticed that by doing that the seasonings really sink in to the fish for a bolder flavor. When I don’t do that it almost tastes a little more watered down and sometimes the seasoning just gets lost. I started doing this with all of my fish after making the garlic parm tilapia because the science holds true for all seasonings, not just breading.

To season I first added the cilantro. Since mine was in a tub I dabbed a little on at a time until I felt coverage was good to-taste using a basting brush.

Pro Tip: A little cilantro will go a long way. I recommend adding a little at a time instead of accidentally putting too much on. My coverage was a little more than Kevin would have liked and I agreed, I’ll be using slightly less than pictured next time.

Next I added about 4 small drops of lime juice to different parts of the filet and dabbed around further with the baster brush.

FullSizeRender 15.jpg

Finally I added the Panda Express Chili sauce (1 packet total covered both with extra to spare) which added the majority of flavor. I sprinkled drops on sporadically, similar to the lime juice, and dabbed with the same baster brush as you can see below:

Cook Time

I preheated the oven to 350° and then cooked for 16 minutes (cook times will vary by oven).

The Final Product


I served the fish with a side of Bird’s Eye Sour Cream & Onion potatoes. Potatoes and fish aren’t exactly a combo I turn to a lot, but it was a pretty pair with the chili flavoring of the tilapia and hints of sour cream in the potatoes.


Let me know how your recipe goes if you give it a whirl with #foodwinediy on social media!


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