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Sous Vide Tilapia in Spicy Seafood Broth

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American


  • olive oil
  • 2 pounds tilapia
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot or 2 small shallots, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup V-8 juice
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • 8 ounces clam juice
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 1 cup mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 1 large tomato seeded and diced
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous


  • Set up your sous vide cooker and get it ready for sous viding. (see notes below)
  • Set your sous vide cooker to 131ºF and set the time for 30 minutes once it reaches temperature.
    While the water is heating up, prep the tilapia and broth ingredients.

Prep the Tilapia & Broth Ingredients

  • Rinse the fillets under cold water, pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the seasoned tilapia into two vacuum seal bags, add 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil to each bag, vacuum and seal the bags.
  • Wash and dry all the fresh ingredients.
    Thinly slice the garlic and mince the shallot.
    Dice the bell peppers, mushroom and tomato.
  • When the sous vide cooker reaches 131ºF, place the tilapia into the water making sure the fish is complete submerged and start your timer.
    While the tilapia is cooking, start making the couscous and flavorful broth.

Prepare the Israeli Couscous

  • In a medium sized pot of salted boiling water, cook the Israeli couscous until al dente according to the package instructions.
    The typical ratio of couscous to water is 1 cup couscous to 1¼ cups water. When the water is completely absorbed and the couscous is al dente, remove from the heat, stir and reserve.

Making the Spicy Seafood Broth

  • Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and when hot, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Add the minced shallot and cook for three minutes before adding the garlic.
    Continue cooking for another minute until the garlic become fragrant and then add the diced bell peppers.
  • When the peppers begin to soften, about 4 - 5 minutes, add the V-8 juice, white wine and clam juice. Stir to combine.
  • Add a couple pinches of saffron threads and simmer this broth for about 5 - 8 minutes until it has reduced a bit.
  • Add the chopped mushrooms, diced tomato and a good pinch of red pepper flakes.
    If you like your food spicier, add more pepper flakes but I prefer to have the shaker at the table and let my family decide for themselves.
    Continue cooking until the mushrooms soften, about 8 minutes.
  • If the broth is ready but the tilapia isn’t, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. If your timing is right, the fish should be ready to remove from the sous vide water bath.
    You can always reheat the broth before serving if necessary.

Plating and Serving

  • When all the ingredients are cooked, add some of the cooked couscous to the bottom of a soup bowl.
  • Carefully remove the tilapia from the vacuum bag.
    It will be so tender it may break into a couple of pieces but if you are careful, you can remove it in once piece. If it breaks, don’t worry, it will still look good and taste great.
  • Spoon the broth with the peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms over the fish.
    If you have some scallions, chives or both, chop a few up to use as garnish.
    Be sure to serve with both a fork and a spoon so your guests can savor the delicious sauce.


For me, this means filling a container with hot water from the tap. This helps reduce the amount of time it takes for my Anova Precision Cooker to get the water up to the right temperature.
Most homes have their hot water set to 120ºF. Room temperature water is about 73ºF and I find cold tap water, especially in the winter, to be colder than that. So if you start with hot water from the tap, you are eliminating at least 47 degrees of heating.
We served this dish with the chardonnay we used in the recipe.