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Whole Fish Masala

Akum Raj Jamir
Whole Fish Masala is a perfectly spiced and slow cooked fish recipe. The fish is so tender and finger-licking delicious. Whole Fish marinated in aromatic Indian spices and cooked into a flavorful, spicy and scrumptious fish masala. This recipe makes a great meal for seafood lovers. Spicy and packed with wonderful exotic flavors.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish, starter
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3


  • frying pan


  • 3 whole fish (gilt-head bream fish)
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2  onion chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 5 large green chilly slit
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tomato chopped
  • salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilly powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper powder
  • 2-3 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or juice of half lemon
  • Few coriander leaves chopped

For Marination:

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilly powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  • Wash the fish and pat dry with clean kitchen towel.
  • Make slashes onto the fish and place them in a plate or bowl.
  • Now add in the marination ingredients one after the other.
  • Rub the masalas nicely all over the fish. Keep aside while you ready the other ingredients or keep it marination for few minutes. 
  • Add 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and allow to heat it.
  • Add in the marinated fish in single layers and slightly fry them for 1-2 minutes. 
  • Flip over and again fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove them in a plate and keep aside. 
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow to splutter. 
  • Add in onion, curry leaves, slit green chillies and saute for a minute. 
  • Add in the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute. 
  • Add in the tomatoes and saute until tomatoes turns soft and mushy. 
  • Add in salt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and pepper powder. Mix well and saute for a minute. 
  • Add in the whole fried fishes. Put on the lid and cook on low flame for about 2 minutes. Flip over and cook for about 1-2 minutes. 
  • Splash some water and cook further on low flame with lid on for about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for about 1 minutes and turn off the flame. 
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the fish. You can sprinkle some chopped coriander. Serve hot! 



  1. I recommend to marinate the fish for atleast 30 minutes.
  2. You can use mustard oil or other refine oil.
  3. You can use finely chopped ginger and garlic instead of paste.
  4. You can use shallots instead of regular onion.
  5. You can use cherry tomatoes instead of normal tomato.
  6. Adjust the red chilly powder and green chillies as per your heat preference.
  7. Do not deep fry and brown the fish.
  8. You can use other fish like pomfret, tilapia, red snapper, pearl spot, mackerel, trevally, sea bream etc.
Keyword fish masala, fish sukka, gilt-head bream fish, whole fish recipe