Tilapia Fish Fry

Fish fry is a south Indian delicacy and was a Sunday-regular during my growing up days back home in Bangalore. It was usually made using vanjaram (king fish). These were bought as steaks from the local fishmonger and had bones in them. I now make this dish regularly using tilapia and it tastes great. You can even use cod, king fish or salmon. While I prefer fillets since they don’t have skin, you can even get them cut as steaks from your local market. It’s an easy recipe for a weeknight dinner along with a side of vegetables.

Tilapia Fish Fry


Tilapia – 2 fillets
Salt to taste
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
Juice of half a lemon


  • Lay the tilapia fillets on a plate and sprinkle salt, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and lemon juice
  • Spread evenly on the fillets using hands
  • Alternatively, you can make a mixture using the above-mentioned masala and then apply it on to the fish
  • Cover the plate using cling wrap and keep it in the refrigerator 
  • If you have sufficient time, you can allow the marinated fish to rest in the fridge overnight or even for a few hours. It would be ideal to rest it for at least 15 minutes before frying
  • Heat oil in a pan that’s wide enough to hold either one or two fish fillets at a time (ensure that the pan doesn’t get too hot, otherwise the fish will burn)
  • Place the fillets in the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side before flipping
  • Keep a close eye on the fish since tilapia cooks very quickly
  • Cook for a couple more minutes on the other side as well
  • Once done, drain on kitchen towel and serve hot!
  • This dish goes well with rice and rasam or sambar. You can even have it with just a side of steamed vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans and carrot

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