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Kerala-style Fried Fish

~ Shanti Menon, NRDC website editor, New York


  • 1 pound farmed tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • About 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil for shallow frying


  1. Wash the fillets and pat them dry.
  2. Combine the spices and salt in a small bowl; add vinegar and combine to form a paste.
  3. Rub both sides of each fillet with the spice paste.
  4. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan on medium-high heat. Fry fillets about two to three minutes on each side. Remove and serve immediately.

Serves 3 to 4.


Frying spicy fish can be a little messy -- a well-ventilated kitchen helps keep smoke and smells to a minimum. Also, try putting a little oil on your hands before handling the spice paste -- this helps keep the turmeric from staining your fingers yellow! Rice is the standard accompaniment to this dish.


In India, my grandmother would make this with a nice, firm fish from the morning's catch, sliced into very thin steaks. My aunt in New Jersey turned me on to using tilapia fillets -- they're always easy to find and work well for this recipe.

More Tasty (and Sustainable) Seafood Recipes

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