Baked Fish Fry

baked fish fryToday I am posting a recipe that is a different take on one of the dishes that I had already posted before. It is one of my most favorite dishes among non vegetarian items and the version I have posted is a healthier alternative to the popular version known to many. it is the baked fish fry. I basically don’t prefer fried foods. So when I came to know of fish fry that can be baked I was stumped. Also baked fish fry can both be had as a snack as well as in a main course.

IMG_0333I first had baked fish fry at my friend’s house when we went there for dinner a few months back. I was so hooked to the dish that when we went there again, I personally requested her to prepare the dish while I was there so that I could learn the recipe 🙂 A big shout out to my dear friend 🙂 I love fish and any dish that can be made from fish. And when I learnt of a healthier alternative to frying it was a double bonanza 🙂 Baked fish fry is very easy to make. As with many of the non vegetarian dishes, especially dry varieties, marination is the key here. Beware of the consistency of the marinade. It should not be too thick or too watery. And, as passed down to me from my friend, vinegar is the key to get that tanginess in the fry. Also, make sure to get the marinade infused in the fish as much as possible.

IMG_0330I am planning to post the recipes for fish biriyani and chill fish in the near future and the baked fish fry is the main component in those dishes. Don’t forget to follow my blog for those amazing recipes. In case, you don’t have a conventional oven, you can also shallow fry the fillets instead of baking. BTW, Happy National Chocolate Cake Day. Have you all tried my chocolate cake recipe (which is by far the best dish I had baked in the last year, at least as attested by my friends :)) ?


Baked Fish Fry
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 small pieces
For the marinade:
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder - 2 tbsp
  • Clove powder - a pinch
  • Cinnamon powder - a pinch
  • Garlic powder - 1 tsp
  • Onion powder - 1 tsp
  • Black pepper powder - ½ tsp
  • White distilled vinegar - 1 tbsp
  • Salt as required
  • Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
  • Corn flour - 1 ½ tbsp
  • Water - 2 to 4 tbsp
  • Tilapia fillet - 1 ¾ lb
Other ingredients:
  • Lemon – 1 no
  • Curry leaves – a sprig
  1. Grind cinnamon and clove separately and make powders of them if you don’t have store bought at home. Make a paste of ginger and garlic and keep it ready.
  2. Mix all the above given ingredients under marinade together to a thick paste and check the seasoning. Add extra salt and spice if needed at this stage. Drizzle water at last to get the right consistency – do not add too much water otherwise the marinade won’t stick to the fish while baking.
  3. Add the fish fillets to the marinade and give a good massage for at least 20 minutes. Leave it to rest overnight or for at least half an hour.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Spray or brush enough olive oil on the aluminum sheet.
  5. Place the marinated fish fillets on top of the sheet and spray olive oil on them as well. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. Flip the fish fillets and spray the other side of the fillets with olive oil and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
  7. Set the oven in broiler and bake for couple of minutes more to get the crispiness.
  8. Remove from the oven and enjoy with lemon wedges on the side. You could also season curry leaves and toss them on top of the fish to add extra flavor to the dish.
  9. Enjoy them as is as a snack or have them along with white rice and fish gravy ! 🙂

baked fish

Fish Gravy

fish gravyGenerally, I am big fan of any food items that has tamarind as one of the ingredients like puli kuzhambu (tamarind gravy), puliyogare (tamarind rice) etc. On those lines, one other dish that I like so much is the Meen kuzhambu/Fish gravy and this gravy also has tamarind as one of the ingredients. Fish gravy is one dish which literally took a lot of my effort in getting it right. Every time I try making this gravy, something or the other didn’t come together. I always suspected that the variety of fish I buy was the reason. So when I visited India recently, this was the dish I had on the top of my list to learn 😉 I tried fish gravy as soon as I returned home and voila! It turned out to be one of my best creations ever 😉

fish gravyI always liked fish since my childhood. I like its texture and taste. The meen kuzhambu that I have given here is one of my mom’s signature recipes. The main ingredients that are used here, other than tamarind, are tomato and green chilli. Fish in general absorbs too much of hotness from the ingredients that we use (chilli and homemade sambar powder). So you need to add extra chilli and/or sambar powder to the gravy. Also, the addition of sambar powder gives thickness to the gravy (you can substitute coconut milk as well here).

fish gravyOne lesson that I learnt from this successful attempt of preparing meen kuzhambu/fish gravy is that if you have the right recipe, you don’t have to worry about the fish you use. So people do try this wonderful recipe and let me know your equally wonderful experience!

Other things that I have learnt,

  • Add extra oil while making fish gravy – enhances the taste.
  • Right amount of tamarind – gives the kick to the gravy.
  • Add extra spiciness – fish absorbs more spice.
  • Fish cooks real fast, so do not stir the gravy often once the fish is added – So that you don’t break/mash the fish.
  • And finally, like biriyani and pizza, fish gravy tastes excellent when had the next day! 🙂

Fish Gravy
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A traditional and authentic fish gravy recipe made using tamarind extract and spices.
to marinate:
  • Homemade sambar powder or kuzhambu podi – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • King or seer fish – 1 pound (5 pieces)
other ingredients:
  • Gingelly oil – 3 to 4 tbsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
  • Shallots, cut to rings – 6 nos
  • Garlic cloves, cut to rounds – 5 nos
  • Tomatoes, big, finely chopped – 1 ½ nos
  • Green chilli – 1 no
  • Salt as required
  • Tamarind - Big gooseberry size
  • Jaggery - a very small piece (a generous pinch)
  • Homemade sambar powder or kuzhambu podi– 2 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Grated coconut – 1 to 2 tbsp (optional)
to crush and temper:
  • Shallots – 1 no
  • Garlic cloves - 1 no
  • Ginger – 1”
  • Oil – 1 tbsp (oil used to fry the fish)
  1. Clean and wash the fish with a tsp of turmeric powder and marinate them with the above given ingredients. Cover and leave it for at least half an hour.
  2. Soak tamarind in a cup of water and extract the juice or blend them in a blender to a thick paste.
  3. Grind coconut and a shallot to a fine paste (this step is completely optional).
  4. Heat oil in a kadai or any wide open deep pan and add fenugreek seeds. When they start to sizzle add chopped shallots. Sauté until the onion turn translucent and then add chopped garlic and fry for a minute until it turns golden brown.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and a slit green chilli. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy. It takes 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add in the tamarind extract/paste and allow them to boil. Add a pinch of jaggery at this time.
  7. Now reduce the flame and add sambar powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well and cook until the gravy leaves oil.
  8. When the gravy starts to boil, check for salt and spice and add the marinated fish to the gravy. Cook until the gravy leaves oil. It takes about 5 to 8 minutes – Do not stir the gravy once the fish is added. Just slightly tilt around the kadai if you wanted to.
  9. Meanwhile crush shallots, ginger and garlic in a motor and pestle.
  10. If you are making a large batch, add coconut paste to the gravy five minutes after the fish is added to the gravy.
  11. Heat a seasoning ladle and fry the crushed ingredients until light golden brown and pour them in to the fish gravy.
  12. Enjoy the tasty fish gravy with hot rice and fish fry and experience the heaven! 
1.Here I have used king fish. You can use any variety of fish of your choice. I heard red snapper tastes excellent for fish gravy. 😉
2.I usually don’t add coconut paste to the gravy if I am making for just the two of us. I recommend adding it when you are making a large batch.
3.Adding jaggery enhances the tanginess of the fish gravy
4.If you are making fish fry on the same day, season the crushed ingredients in the left over oil. My mom always does this because it adds more taste to the gravy.

fish gravy