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Spicy South Indian Style Fish Fry

Spicy South Indian style fish fry is a simple shallow fry of any fish with minimal ingredients and the spice coated fish provides a delightful and palatable experience to taste buds.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main course/Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Author: Padma


  • 500 grams Tilapia steaks or filet
  • To marinate:
  • 2 teaspoon Red chilli powder
  • ¼ teapoon Turmeric powder
  • teaspoon Ginger garlic paste
  • Required salt divided
  • ½ teaspoon oil
  • To Garnish:
  • 1 cup spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • Few curry leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander finely chopped
  • To Shallow fry:
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons of oil


  • Clean fish steaks with cold water, pat dry and place on a plate.
  • Marinate the fish steaks with ingredients under the section “To Marinate“. Using your fingers, rub the spices on the fish slices on both sides. Basically, you are coating the fish slices with masala paste.
  • Marinate the fish slices for at least 20 minutes or you can also leave it in refrigerator overnight for spices to blend well into the fish steaks.
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat to shallow fry the fish steaks.
  • Once the pan is hot enough, place the fish steaks and let it cook on each side for 4 to 5 minutes such that the fish is fully cooked.
  • Do not disturb or keep flipping sides. Fish being very delicate might lose its shape.
  • Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Now add the chopped spring onions, slit green chillies and curry leaves into the same pan and sprinkle some salt. Sauté till they are translucent and turn a little brown.
  • Turn off the heat and transfer the sautéed spring onions to a plate.
  • Now place the fried fish pieces on the bed of spring onions and garnish with coriander and serve as an appetiser or with sambar or rasam rice as a side.


Adjust spice levels to suit your requirement.
You can use the marination for any fish or filet and make this recipe.
Buying the exact fish here is the biggest task.
Though many people deep fry fish, I would say try to pan fry the fishes. You save lot of oil and better for health. The fish also tends to become harder when deep fried.
To check if a fish slice is cooked, prick it with a fork. The fork should easily get in. Make sure not to overcook!
The oil added tot he marinade acts as a binding agent.