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Grilled Tilapia & Yam Chips by Kwaku Asare

To Ghanaians, grilled tilapia and fried yam are what fish and chips are to the English. Grilled tilapia in Ghana is traditionally served with the following accompaniments: fried yam, banks, and kenkey. For the sauce, Ghanaians have their meals with meko (blended red pepper, tomatoes, and onions) and shito (shrimp chili crisp sauce).

Think: crispy fish skin layered with spicy and smokey flavors and melt-in-your-mouth tilapia flakes. Get into this Ghanaian delight! London-based Chef Kwaku Asare of Kwaku's Kitchen shows us how to make Grilled Tilapia with Yam Chips.

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 30 mins

For the Grilled Tilapia:

1 red bell pepper

1 medium white or red onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1 tablespoon ginger & garlic mince

1 scotch bonnet pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon of sunflower/vegetable oil

2 - 4 medium whole tilapia

For the garnish:

1 medium onion (thinly sliced)

1 medium red or green bell pepper

Meko, to serve

Shito, to serve

For the Fried Yam Chips:

Ghana Puna Yam

Vegetable Oil for Frying

1 tsp salt

For the Grilled Tilapia:

  1. For marinade, blend bell pepper, onion, garlic & ginger mince, scotch bonnet, and mixed herbs until smooth. Set aside.

  2. Clean your tilapia by removing the gills and fins with a sharp knife or scissors. Cut three diagonal slits on the tilapia and place it in a bowl.

  3. Cover with marinade; set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

  4. Pre-heat your oven/grill to 350°F (180°C). Once hot, brush the grill rack with oil. Baste both sides of the tilapia with oil and place on grill.

  5. Grill for 10-15 mins on each side until the skin is slightly charred. Occasionally brush with leftover seasoning and oil to prevent dryness.

  6. In a small pot, fry your onions & red pepper for 3 mins and use to garnish.

For the Fried Yams:

  1. Peel and cut your yam into chunky chip sizes. Wash your yam, soak in water, add salt, and set aside for 3 mins.

  2. Fill a pot or deep fryer with enough oil to fry. Heat the oil for 5 mins on high heat until piping hot. If using a deep fryer, use the recommended settings for chips (170°C).

  3. Fry the yam in small batches for 6 mins until golden yellow. They should look crispy but well-cooked inside. Do not over-fry as it will become bitter.

  4. Place yam on a paper towel to drain excess oil and season with salt. Fry remaining yam until complete.

  5. Serve tilapia with yam chips, red pepper (meko) & shito.


  • The grilled tilapia can also be cooked using an outdoor charcoal grill which gives it a more authentic smokey taste and flavor.

  • If yam is not available, you can substitute it with fries or roasted potatoes.

  • For extra soft tender tilapia, cover with foil and allow to cook for 5 more minutes on lower heat.


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