Fish Maryam Masala

This is a recipe that has been in our family in Pakistan and Kenya for quite sometime and has evolved over the years. This is a straightforward and simple method taught to me by my beloved Pupho Maryam of United Kingdom.  She always had all of us around her table, frying fresh fish for us to enjoy with rotis and chutneys.

I sometimes add thinly sliced potatoes to the frying pan whilst frying the fish, they cook slowly with the fish and provided added flavour to the end result.


  • 2lb white fish (e.g. Cod, Coley, Haddock), de-scaled or de-skinned, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 2 tbs fresh or bottled lemon/lime juice mixed with 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs fresh ground garlic
  • 2 tsps ajwain
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 2 tsps red chillie powder
  • 1 tsps turmeric
  • 2 tbs tomato puree/paste
  • 2 tbs fresh or bottled lemon/lime juice
  • oil for deep frying


  1. Wash fish under running cold water, drain in a colander and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Sprinkle generously with the salt and lemon/lime juice mixture and keep aside for 15 minutes, the acid helps the fish to be less smelly .
  3. Mix all other ingredients except the oil in a small bowl, take a piece of fish, apply this thick mixture roughly on both sides of the fish pieces, lay out in a dish, do the same until all pieces of fish are fully coated.
  4. Keep covered on the windowsill if in a cold country or in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours or overnight to marinate the fish.
  5. Heat oil to medium heat in a wok or deep frying pan, add 2 – 3 pieces of fish at a time, when one side is brown, turn over gently using a fish slice and fry other side until cooked.
  6. Remove very carefully and gently into a serving dish, garnish with fresh coriander, sliced onions and garam masala.

The fish is on dry and has no gravy hence not suitable to be served with rice. It can be served with chips, chappatis or naans.


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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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