Fried Fish, Kerala-Style

Beyond Curry

Inspired Indian home cooking.

Fried Fish, Kerala-Style

[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]

About the author: Denise Dsilva Sankhe is a writer & creative director by profession. But that's only when she isn't eating her way across India. She recreates this delicious cuisine in her Mumbai home, which she shares with her husband, who has long since given up his determination to have salads for dinner.

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  • Yield:Serves 2
  • Active time: 20 mins prep ten mins cooking time
  • Total time:30 mins


  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (or 1 clove grated garlic mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger)
  • 4 firm-fleshed fish steaks (such as kingfish), about 4 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 lime wedge


  1. 1.

    Place peppercorns, curry leaves, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coconut in a cast iron skillet and toast on low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Allow mixture to cool. Add turmeric and grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

  2. 2.

    Rub mixture evenly over fish and allow it to marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 3 hours.

  3. 3.

    Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. reduce heat to medium-low. Slide in the fish gently and cook, turning once, until cooked through, deep brown, and flesh flakes easily with a fork. The fish should have a deep golden almost charred color. Remove, drain on paper towel-lined plate, and serve immediately with lime wedges.