Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mangalorean Fish Fry

I hail from Mangalore and like most Mangaloreans, I’m a huge fan of fish and sea food. I get this fondness for fish from my dad who can’t enjoy a meal that has no fish in it. We had fish everyday, sometimes even two different kinds of fish meals for lunch and dinner. So I was royally pampered and it was only when I left home, first for studies, then for work, that I realized how much I missed fish.
Since I grew up eating fish, I also grew up cutting and cleaning fish. I used to help my mom and learnt all the necessary tricks from her. So the task of catching a crab by its claws and tearing open its shell to clean it or removing off the never ending scales in fish like sardines is not daunting to me.
When we were initially married, my husband was not very fond of fish. But now he loves fish as much as I do, if not more. I consider this one of my biggest achievements- turning him into a fish lover :) One of his favorite fish dishes is the Fish Fry Mangalorean style and this is the recipe I've talked about today. This version uses red masala. In a subsequent issue, I’ll blog the green masala version as well, which is equally yummy.
Although I’ve discussed the recipe for Pomfret fry here, the same procedure and ingredients can be used for all other fish like Mackerels, Sardines, King Fish, Lady Fish, Silver fish, Tilapia etc. So here goes:

•2 medium to large sized pomfrets, cleaned thoroughly
•Red Pepper powder / Chilli Powder: 3-4 tbsp
•Garam Masala Powder/Bafat Powder: 1 tsp
•Ginger Garlic Paste: 1.5 tsp
•Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp
•Vinegar/ Tamarind water: enough to mix the masala to the required consistency
•Salt: to taste, the masala should be a little on the salty side, so the flavors get into the fish well
•Oil: for frying,

Kitchen Items Required
•Tawa for frying the fish and a flat spoon to turn the fish so it cooks well on both sides
•A plate/ bowl to marinate the fish in


1) Thoroughly clean the pomfrets under running tap water for 1-2 mins. Cleaning involves removing the fins, gills , scales and tail and also removing off the internal organs of the fish. I take about 3 mins to meticulously clean one fish.
2) Using a sharp knife make around 3-4 horizontal slits along the body of the fish on each side.
3) Apply a little bit of salt to the fish and keep aside.
4) Now mix all the ingredients required for the masala, except for the vinegar/tamarind water. Once the rest of the ingredients are well integrated, add just enough vinegar/tamarind water to get the right consistency. The masala should not be too thin or too thick. It should be just right that it sticks nicely to the fish, without dripping off.
5) Once the right consistency is achieved, nicely coat the fish with the masala paying special attention to the slits. Apply enough masala inside the fish too.
6) Marinate the fish in the masala for a minimum of half an hour. The longer the marination, the deeper the masala penetrates thus enhancing the flavor.
I sometimes marinate the fish overnight in the refrigerator and fry it the next day. If you are planning to marinate for more than an hour, keep the fish for marination in the fridge, since fish has a short shelf life outside the fridge.
7) Heat the tawa on medium high flame. Add about 3 tsps of oil to the hot tawa. Slowly slide in the well marinated pomfret coated with masala onto the tawa. You can close the tawa with a lid, to avoid spluttering of the oil. Once the fish is cooked on one side, slowly turn the side, avoiding splitting up the fish. You may add a little more oil at this stage, only if required. Once the fish has cooked on both sides, remove from tawa and leave for draining on a kitchen towel. Sprinkle lime juice on the ready to eat fish and serve hot with rice and a nice gravy.
8)Repeat step 7 for the 2nd fish.
a) I generally clean the tawa between frying, to avoid the pieces of burnt masala from frying the first fish sticking to the second fish. Ensure the tawa is sufficiently hot before adding the second fish
b) A variation to this recipe is to dip the fish in Rava/Semolina, before frying it on the Tawa. This recipe is called Fish Rava Masala Fry. This works very well for fish like Pomfrets and Mackerels. This version is particularly good for people who have less spice tolerance.

Update: I fried king fish (Surmai/Isvon) today and included a picture of that as well


rovina said...

I'm seriously salivating.
Pomfret fry :(
Sigh out loud. Oh well I'll be home soon

Shona said...

Hi Teena, Tried this recipe.It came out well.My hubby loved it a lot.Thanks a lot for this yummy recipe :)

The Inscrutable Indian said...

Hi Shona,

Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you liked the recipe. Keep coming back for more.

Priyanka said... looks yummy..... :)

Samu said...

My husband absolutely loved the fish fry. Thank you

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