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Chettinad Fish Fry


Chettinad fish fry recipe, a delicious spicy fish fry recipe from the Chettinad region that goes great with rice and curry.


Cuisine: Chettinad

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins




Collect it

· 4 pieces Seer Fish (You can use any other fish)

· Coconut oil (or gingelly oil, these bring out the flavors best. But any other oil is good enough)

· 2 Green chillies (optional)

· Salt to taste

For Fish Masala Powder

· 2 tsp Cumin seeds

· 2 tsp Fennel seeds

· 2 tsp Coriander seeds

· 1 tsp Peppercorns

· 10 Cloves

· 12 Red chillies

· ½ tsp Turmeric powder

· ½ tsp Asafoetida powder

·      a Dash of Lime (optional)

For Onion & Garlic paste

· 10 Shallots

· 4 cloves of Garlic

Make it


DRY ROAST all the masala for the fish masala powder mentioned above except turmeric and asafoetida. Be careful not to burn. Roast till golden brown. Switch off the gas.

ADD turmeric and asafoetida.

Cool the mixture. Grind once cooled. You can store it in an airtight container.

GRIND the shallots and garlic to a fine paste.

MIX 2 tsp of the onion-garlic paste, 3-4 tsp of masala and salt. At this point I added a dash of lime. This is optional but I think the flavour is richer.

MARINATE the fish well and let it rest for 15 minutes (max an hour)

SHALLOW fry till done. You can add two green chillies to the oil, but this is optional.

Recipe Notes:


The marinade falls off the fish when frying:

There are three essentials to ensure that the marinade sticks to the fish

a. The fish needs to be almost dry when you marinate it

b. The marinade needs to be a thick paste and not watery.

c. The most important is oil temperature. Maintain a medium high heat at all times. If you keep it too low, the marinade will cook first and fall off, leaving the fish half done.

The type of fish used to make Chettinad fish fry:

You can use any firm-fleshed large fish that is available in steak pieces I usually use King fish steaks


The type of oil

The ideal would be coconut oil. But you can use regular olive oil, gingelly oil  or any cooking oil you prefer.


Substitute for shallots

Shallots are an integral part of Chettinad cooking but if you really can’t find them, you can either omit them or add some red onion paste in its stead, though this changes the flavour profile.

#Chettinad #Fish

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