Fish masala fry


Shilpa: Here is one of the most awaited recipes from my brother. He and my SIL took these pictures and wrote the post. Here is the recipe in their own words.

Since my visit to Bangalore, the most adored type of fish fry has been masala fry. I tasted it for the first time at a very small restaurant called ‘Kinara’ on Modi hospital road in Bangalore. Though all of my friends were teetotallers, this bar and restaurant always attracted us for its very resonable ‘numbers on right hand side of its menu’. My initial understanding was that this preparation was Kinara’s brainchild. However as I started exploring restaurants of Bangalore, I realized that this preparation is available in most of the Mangalore style restaurants.

Though it was always easy to guess ingredients of this meticulously prepared dish, we could not exactly guess the way it was prepared. It has been nearly 10 years in Bangalore and to whomever I introduced this dish, they have always liked it. This preparation was most of the times served on plintain leaf with thick red coloured spicy paste applied to fish. This gave a wrong direction to our thought process and we tried to prepare it with plantain leaf wrapped, fish being masala cladded.

When we bought microwave we gave a try but in vain. Over last few years, I even enquired at couple of places regarding how without applying rava or without keeping it in oven or in tandoor we can prepare this. My experiments came to happy end when one of the restaurants employee told me this most wanted method of preparing.

That weekend we bought 6 slices of seer fish after buying a special tava to prepare this much ‘haunted’ masala fry. We fried two slices per meal, method being exactly same and changing the masala every time.

Below are three varieties of masala. The proportions are suitable for one large slice of seer fish.

1) Red masala – 1
3 tea spoon chilli powder
1 tea spoon coriander seeds
1/4 tea spoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 tea spoontamarind extract
1 tea spoon chopped ginger
1 tea spoon chopped garlic
1 strand curry leaves(do not grind them but rather just mix in paste)

2) Red masala – 2
3 tea spoon chilli powder
1 pinch turmeric powder
1/4 tea spoon tamarind extract(soak tamarind instead of using readymade extract)
4 cloves of garlic
Above masala is same as the one used for regular rava fry.

3) Green masala
1 green chillie
6-7 strands of coriander leaves
4-5 leaves of pudina(only if you like the flavour)
1/4 tea spoon tamarind extract(soak tamarind instead of using readymade extract)
4 cloves of garlic


Above masala is similar as the one used in Goan Cafreal. It is same as used in Green masala fry.

Apply paste to fish and leave it about 30 minutes for marination. Then pour water to immerse the fish in such a way that at least 1/4 inch of paste should rest on fish. This will work well only with kadai shaped thick bottom tava. If a mixer is used for preparing masala, use the water from that mixer to immerse fish. Water should not be added
during marination. Use high flame initially and low flame to cook till water content evaporates to leave thick paste on fish. There is no need to turn the fish and no need to use oil unlike conventional shallow fry. The main skill involved here is in preparing the paste with adequate amount of water.

The procedure and eventual taste differs from its ‘cousins’  like rava fry, deep fry or tandoori fry. The hardness which comes to fish due to cooking is the indication of completion, remaining paste needs to be left as it is. If required couple of drops of oil may be added and it can be served wrapped in plantain leaf to get distinct flavor.

36 thoughts on “Fish masala fry”

  1. Wow, a fish fry without any oill, and it turns out looking like that first picture? This I have to try. Thanks to your brother for hunting down this recipe Shilpa!

  2. Shilpa..this is one wonderful fish recipe, tks to ur bro for sharing, all the 3 variations look appealing n yes..the first pic is so droolofying , want it from the screen right away! 😀

  3. Mmmmmmmm! No frying, not much oil, yummy looking fish! Makes me droooooooool! 🙂

    Whats this special pan, Shilpa? A shallow nonstick pan or is there something else to keep in mind? I don’t do nonstick, so I’m wondering how to replicate it in my kitchen.

    Shilpa: My bro has used a shallow non stick pan. I would suggest using a thick bottomed pan if you don’t use non stick. The pan should have a flat bottom and enough room to hold the fish.

  4. mmm, colorful and great description I am a seafood fan I am gonna enjoy this fry… Am all droolin over the pics… Dishes like these are what we foodies crave for…

  5. Shilpa want to try this one. Have you tried with a filet of tilapia or salmon ?

    Also the masala should be liquid enough to immerse the fish right ?

    Shilpa: For marination, you should not add water. But while cooking, add water so that the liquid immerses the fish. I haven’t tried this with any fish here yet. But I think tilapia will work great

  6. This is what I had a few years ago when I visited Anupam @ Mangalore. Tried making it several times, but always ended up making the conventional fish fry. Thanks a ton for posting the recipe !

  7. I have always been a silent visitor on this site but have never left a comment before.I admire your continual efforts and the time spent in maintaning this site, inspite of your busy schedule. I had tasted this dish in a restaurant and tried to replicate it at home but some how it never tased the same, thanks to your brother for sharing the recipe. I am gonna try it soon

  8. Hey Shilpa..

    Your recipes always bring a smile on my face.. Brings me back my childhood memories..
    Some of the dishes which I didnt like as a child I have tried making them after I came to US 🙂
    Appreciate your efforts !!
    Have you heard of surnoli dose its again a mangalorean preparation.. Its etaen along with benne ( butter) I would love to see it here 🙂

  9. Shilpa tried this method with Tilapia, it was good. Next time shall try your Masala paste V1.0. I think that would make it taste even better
    Thanks to your bro 🙂

  10. Shilpa, I appreciate your effort and interest in reviving traditional Mangalorean dishes specially konkani in the era of fast food culture. This is the legacy we can leave to our children who only know burger, kabab, pani poori,pizza and what not!.Pathrado fry can beat any damn dish on this earth

  11. Such a wonderful Dish.. Thanks Shilpa and your brother for all the efforts in producing this dish.. I have been an ardent fan of your website and all the delicious recipes that you post, especially all the aamchigale dishes.. someof these dishes do bring up a lot of nostalogic memories of my childhood..
    I tried Red masala fry over the weekend. I combined both the masalas. I used 3lbs of Tilapia fillets and marinated them for an hour in the red masala. then instead of pan frying them, I just baked them, by covering the tray with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes and broiled the fish after removing the foil for 5 minutes. the result was simply amazing. Simply superb.!! The curry leaves give such an unique fragrance to the fry..
    Next I will try the green masala..

  12. Hi shilpa,
    Ur simply great…thanks a ton for being so patient and sharing ur marvellous recipes with all of the readers…..I tried Methi rice & red masala fish fry…It was awesome and a big hit even with my hubby.he really liked it…thanks a lot…..

    take care

  13. In NYC Chinatown , you can buy fresh bombil $5.99 a lb. I usually buy a few lbs, crisp-fry them & freeze. They warm up perfectly in toaster-oven. I also make a great bombil wadi with Rawa.

  14. Shilpa, Thanks for a Great recipe. Just a suggestion. In Goa, they add Toddy Vinegar. Red dried chillies can be ground instead using chilli power. I ate one at Souza Lobo restaurant at Kalangut beach during my recent visit. It was delicious.

  15. Chanced upon your blog in search of M’lore style fish fry, which I have been missing for a while. I tried the red masala 1 instead with Halibut. It came out pretty good. Thank you (and your bro of course).

  16. Thanks for great recipes.
    when I try this recipe the taste was amazing,all of my family member’s loved it.
    I really appreciate with ur efforts.Can u share more recipes of fish,I would like to try .
    You know one thing before marriage I was totally vegiterian but aftter the marriage I had more nonveg recipes. So thank you so much .

  17. Hi, wanted to tr something differnt than the same old curr method…..the recipe red masala looks nice! hope it turns out welll..actuall i have eaten in the hotel the masala kind of fish….now got a recipe to cook…..thanks a ton

  18. I tried the first variation last night… came out stunningly well. It was spicy enough to put holes in my tongue, but man, it was awesome with some beer! Just the thought of those awesome flavors makes my mouth water now.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  19. In New York city, you can get Bombil (Bombay Duck) in Chinatown. Try New York Supermarket (75 East Broadway), Number One Long Hing Market (17 East Broadway), New Lou Cheng Market (57 E Broadway), Golden Way Market (11 Market St). The fish is imported from China on every Friday. So best days to buy are Fridays and Saturdays. They sell for $6-8 per lb. Its hard to find someone who speaks English in these shops. So take a printout of the picture available on net and show it to them.

  20. Thanks Shilpa, loved the perfect red Mangalooru masala fry. I do remember eating at Anupam hotel in Mangalooru. I want to try king fish and pomfret, let me know which fish comes out best.
    saritha k

  21. Hi Shilpa ,,I tried this reciepe(Red masala 1) with King fish….. It was super…Spicy.. My Hubby liked it very much:)
    Thanks a lot Shilpa:)



  23. I tried this recipe at home;it came out very well. This page is bookmarked in my browser. Visiting this page everytime we prepare Fish !!!

  24. This was a great recipe and I really loved it a lot .The Best part was ,my wife never ate fish in her life and she ate this one and was really happy since the fish was more tastier with this masala and she was Overwhelmed .

  25. I tried red masala and it came out really superb… and as I am working it is really fast to cook and TASTY too………

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