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4 from 1 vote

Kerala Fish Fry: South Indian Spiced Pan-Fried Fish

Flaky fish with ginger, garlic and spices, pan-fried to golden perfection. It's a super flavourful, versatile recipe that works with most varieties of fish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD


  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 lime juiced, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 lb fish fillets or steaks I typically use tilipia or cod, but really, most any fish would work
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil


  • Combine garlic, ginger, lime juice, salt and spices in a small bowl.  Pat fish dry then rub spice paste all over it.  Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature (or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator).
  • Preheat a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat.  Add oil to hot pan. When oil is shimmering hot, carefully slide in half of the fish. Let cook undisturbed until fish lifts easily and top of the fish is turning opaque at the edges, 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip and finish cooking on the other side until fish is just opaque at the centre and flakes easily with a fork, 1-2 minutes more.
  • Serve with lime wedges.