Fish Tawa Fry

Fish Tawa Fry – so, what's special about it?

Is it just the usual fish fry with a glorified name? Well, it's more than your usual “meen varuthathu”(fish fry). For one it's flavor-packed and the taste lingers even after you finish your meal, leaving you wanting for more ;)

We've taken our basic fish fry to another level, the fish is fried yet it's succulent and coconut milk and tamarind and other spices come together to make it finger-licking goodness!

Ok, I'm stopping my description here. You try it for yourself and let me know how you like it.

Here is the recipe…

Fish Tawa Fry
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Fish Tawa Fry

A kerala style fish curry where fish pieces are marinated with spices and fried with tamarind and coconut milk based sauce.
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Course: Appetiser, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian, Kerala, Keralan
Keyword: Fish Tawa Fry, Fish Masala Fry
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 250 gms Fish (measured after cleaning. Refer notes.)
  • For Marination
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Fennel powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • Salt
  • For Masala
  • 15 Pearl/small onion (crushed)
  • 6-8 Garlic (I used small Indian variety) (crushed)
  • 1 small piece Ginger (crushed)
  • 1.5 – 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala
  • 1-2 tsp Tamarind paste
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup Medium thick coconut milk
  • Salt
  • Coconut oil


  • Combine all the ingredients listed under "for marination". Add cleaned fish pieces to this.
  • Marinate the fish pieces for half an hour.
  • Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a tawa. I used cast iron tawa, you can use a non stick tawa or a shallow frying pan.
  • Fry both sides of the fish pieces till it's half cooked. Transfer the fish pieces to a plate.
  • In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and add crushed pearl onion, ginger and garlic. Fry for 3-4 mins or till it turns golden.
  • Add the masala powders (listed under "for masala"). Cook for 2-3 mins or till the raw smell goes.
  • Add salt and tamarind paste and mix well. Add coconut milk (start with 1/3 cup) and mix gently.
  • Add the fish pieces and make sure each piece is coated well with the masala. Add more coconut milk, if required.
  • The curry is ready when the consistency is semi-dry and the fish pieces are coated well with the masala.


I used pomfret here. You can use any meaty fish for this recipe.
You can add curry leaves while frying the fish and in the end as well. Also, drizzle coconut oil in the end after switching off the gas. Let the curry rest for 15-20 mins, for the flavor to settle in. 
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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1 thought on “Fish Tawa Fry”

  1. Thanks Maria, this was an exceptionally good recipe! My husband called all his friends last night to brag about what an excellent dinner he was having :-D

    Note: I doubled the marination ingredients for 600g fish, but for the cooked masala I used the original measures in your recipe. For the cooked masala I used 1 cup of chopped onions as we don’t get pearl onions here. I also used a handful of curry leaves to add some zing :-)

    This recipe worked very well in my electric oven – here are the steps I followed (again for 600g fish)

    Place marinated fish in an oiled baking pan
    Using a silicone brush, baste the marinated fish on both sides with oil
    Move an oven rack to the top slot,
    Turn Oven on broil mode and keep the door open
    Place the baking pan in the oven on the top rack WITH THE DOOR OPEN
    Broil fish for 3 mins on each side

    Remove fish from oven, and leaving the fish in the baking pan, coat each fish piece well with cooked masala.
    Move oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F
    Bake fish for 12 minutes, turning midway (assuming the pieces are thick, bake for only 6 minutes total if the pieces are thinly sliced)
    Check fish with a fork for doneness
    Taste masala, and sprinkle generously with lime juice if needed


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