Environmental Issues > Oceans Main Page > All Oceans Documents

Printable 4x6 PDF

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

Back to main page >

Get Updates and Alerts

See the latest issue >

Donate to NRDC

Oceans on Switchboard

NRDC experts write about the growing risks to the health of our oceans on the NRDC blog.

Recent Oceans Posts

Expert Report Can Guide Northeast in Fighting Climate Change Impact on Oceans
posted by Lisa Suatoni, 1/21/16
Keep It Under the Sea
posted by Niel Lawrence, 11/17/15
California Bans Plastic Microbeads: A Key Step in Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution
posted by Elizabeth Murdock, 11/13/15

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.

Donate now >

Share | |
Find NRDC on