L4: “Fish meets masala”


There is no perfect amount of chilli, add as much as you can handle 😉

Although Valentine’s day is over, the romance between these two still needs to be celebrated. Fish and masala are a coupling that has long been a favourite in my family.

The softness of fresh white fish wrapped in an electric spice mix can act as the perfect starter or main. I’ve paired mine with a cooling raita (yoghurt salad) for balance but it goes well with a simple sauce like imli or mint chutney.

Fried or baked it’s up to you but one thing is certain, this is a deliciously easy meal to enjoy with family or friends.

Serves 8-10 people depending on how hungry each one is


  • 1.25kg cod (or any white fish of your choice)
  • 1tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tbsp coriander powder (known as daniya)
  • ½ tbsp cumin powder (known as jeera)
  • ½ tbsp red chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp red chilli powder
  • ½ red food colour powder (or a splash of the liquid is fine)
  • 45g gram flour (a type of chickpea flour, available at most Asian supermarkets)


  1. The first step is to put your defrosted fish (cut into medium sized pieces) in a large bowl and add in the first round of spices. This includes lemon juice, black pepper, salt and the garlic & ginger paste. Cover and leave for 15-20 minutes. I like to think of this as the lighter flavours stage that is a warm up for the masala’s introduction.
  2. Before the fish meets the masala, heat some oil in a shallow pan. This is because the once the masala is added, the water from the fish affects the consistency of the mix. In short, to ensure the best results, just add spices before you want to cook the fish.
  3. Next is the main event, mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add to the fish. This includes the gram flour, daniya, jeera, red chilli flakes, red chilli powder, zarka and salt. This masala is very dry so take care to rub each piece of fish gently ensuring everything is covered.
  4. Send your masala fish pieces into the hot pan and fry on each side for a few minutes. The colour will be a pretty kind of golden red on the outside while the inside remains white. Be careful to not overcook the fish, your want it to cook the spices but not dry out your fish.
  5. Serve hot and sizzling with the dip of your choice and enjoy. I put mine on a bed of imli sauce as I like the zingy and spicy taste combination. I’ve also made some raita (yoghurt salad) with mine to add some freshness to the meal.

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