March 23, 2012

Indo-Chinese Chilli Fish

The first time I made this dish was for my sister's recent birthday, while visiting them in Abu Dhabi.  I wanted to cook something nice on her special day and decided to don the Chef's hat even though I was on vacation. I know, you must have noticed my love for her is of an epic proportion but she never sees it that way !! Finally, once the dish hit the table, I was glad to see everyone enjoying it especially my seafood-loving brother-in-law Nitin.

Well, a lot of credit goes to the quality of fresh fish that you get in the UAE. Regardless of all the must-see places in the city, one of my all-time favorites is the 'Fish Market' and I was glad that Nitin took me there early one morning, though Sheeba thought we were crazy. Nitin gave me a nice comprehensive tour of the city (gosh! - how does he know so much about the city and everything around) and when we visited the Fish Market I was just so enthused and captivated by the myriad variety, colors, the people and the overall lively feel of the place that my brain was just overloaded with new seafood-inspired recipe ideas.

Getting back to the dish, it is surely a must-try that is guaranteed to win some hearts! Anything that is fried first and then slathered in a spicy, tangy sauce just cannot go wrong, so go ahead and try it out. This recipe is a sure keeper for me :)

Serves 4-6

1 lb - Fish (boneless)
To marinate
1 Tbsp - Soy Sauce
1 Tsp - Worcestershire sauce
1 Tsp - Chilly powder
Oil for frying

3 - Onions, sliced
5 clove - Garlic, (Julienne)
1 1/2 inch - Ginger (Julienne)
4 - Green Chilly (slit lengthwise)
A few - Curry leaves
3 stalks - Scallion (Spring Onion)
1 Tsp - Soy Sauce
4 Tbsp - Tomato Ketchup

  • Marinate the fish pieces in Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chilly powder and salt. Be cognizant of the salt in the Soy and Worcestershire sauces while adding additional salt. Keep the marinated fish aside for 30 minutes
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan and shallow fry the fish pieces. Keep it aside
  • Heat oil in the same pan and add onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves and green chilly and saute until the onions are browned
  • Add the chopped scallions and saute for a minute
  • Stir in the Soy sauce and ketchup
  • Now gently stir in the fried fish and mix gently to avoid breaking the fish pieces. Cook for a minute or two and serve hot.
Notes and Tips
  • I used low-sodium Soy sauce which is considered healthier than the traditional version.
  • You can use Paprika instead of Chilly powder or remove the seeds from the green chilly to reduce the heat index
  • If you are using a white flaky fish like Tilapia be careful, while turning it during frying and also while tossing the ingredients together, to keep the fish pieces intact. 


  1. Hi Shema,
    Could you suggest the best fish suitable for this recipe?WIll wild salmon do?..This is gonna be my easter special:)

  2. I used Tilapia, Mahi Mahi and Kingfish for this recipe. Salmon should also be fine. Thanks for trying out the recipe

  3. Can whole tilapia fish be cooked with skin or should it be skinless

  4. It would be best to use Tilapia pieces instead of whole fish. You can leave the skins on the pieces if you prefer but I used boneless skinless pieces.

  5. So stunning! I have to try this! So sweet about your sister, I feel the same about my baby sister too :)

  6. This looks amazing! Can't wait to try it :) From Liz at

  7. I was looking for an easy fish recipe and came across your recipe for chili fish. I used salmon. It was extremely easy to make and had incredible flavor.

  8. This has certainly caught my eye. Really missing Indian Chinese. So going to try this. Looks insanely delicious!!!

  9. Hi Shema,
    Can this dish be eaten with chapathi? What kind of leaves have you put on top of the dish? Thank you!

    1. It's totally up to your palate. You can pair it with whatever your heart desires. I have used curry leaves and scallions(spring onions)


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Thanks a bunch,


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