Crispy Fried Masala Fish

This recipe has been passed down for generations in my paternal family and was taught to me by an aunt in Narowal, Pakistan.  It is one of the easiest fish recipes, involves very little preparation but results are truly tasty! 


  • 2 lb white fish de-scaled or de-skinned, cut into 3 inch pieces (thin slices work best)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbs fresh or bottled lemon juice
  • 2 tsp garlic paste

Stage 2

  • 6 ozs gram flour
  • 1 tbs rice flour (optional)
  • 1 tbs corn flour (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp red chillie flakes (omit for mild)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbs coarsely ground dry coriander
  • 1 tbs ajwain (make sure to bruise it between your palms to impart flavour)
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • 6 tbs finely chopped green coriander or 2 tbs dry fenugreek (methi)

Stage 3

  • Enough oil to shallow fry 


  1.  Wash the fish in cold water, drain, pat dry and place in a flat plate.
  2. Make a mixture of the salt, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  3. Drizzle over the fish and turn the fish over a couple of times until it is fully coated, marinate for 30 minutes.

Stage 2

Put the gram flour in a flat plate, add all of the ingredients listed under Stage 2 and mix them using a spoon, keep aside.

Stage 3

  1.  For best results use a skillet or heavy based non-stick frying pan, add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan, heat the oil to a medium heat.
  2. Take each piece of marinated fish, dip both sides into the dry gram flour mixture, push the fish down into the dry mixture to coat generously then gently place the fish in the oil, add 2 or 3 more pieces of coated fish into the frying pan (this will depend on the size of the pan).
  3. Shallow fry one side on a medium heat until crisp and edges of the fish look cooked, using a fish slice turn the fish over very carefully, cook other side until brown.
  4. Place in a single layer on a serving platter, garnish with lime/lemon slices and fresh coriander to serve with rotis, naans or chips, this is not suitable to be eaten with rice as it is crisp and dry. 
  5. A good accompaniment would be cucumber raita or boondi raita and green chutney.


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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