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Pan-fried Masala Sea Bass

Pan-fried Masala Sea Bass

If you love fish, this pan-fried masala sea bass has got everything to tantalise your taste buds. Hero of this dish is a perfectly fried sea bass fillet. It’s got a beautiful crispy skin, and a succulent flesh with a great masala flavour from the signature marinade that we use. The fried fish sits on a pureed tomato-chilli reduction. Some fried shallots and coriander leaves (cilantro) complete the dish.

Why sea bass?

Sea bass is an excellent choice if you want to experiment with the accompanying flavours. This white-fleshed fish on its own doesn’t have a strong flavour. It’s got a mild, buttery taste with a juicy flesh that can soak up all the flavours in which you cook it. In short, this fish doesn’t really have a fishy taste, and would also appeal to people who don’t usually prefer fish!

Pan-fried masala sea bass served on layer of tomato-chilli paste, and garnished with fried shallots and coriander leaves
Pan-fried masala sea bass served on layer of tomato-chilli paste, and garnished with fried shallots and coriander leaves. Look at the crispy skin!

Why you should try this sea bass recipe?

The way I look at it, this is the Indian version of a classic – pan-fried sea bass!

This recipe will help you produce a great tasting plate of food. It’s got a fantastic balance of flavours and textures. The sea bass fillet has both crispy and juicy textures. The fish fry marinade adds a warm Indian masala flavour, while the tomato-chilli puree gives a nice, sweet, tangy depth to it. The crispiness of the fried shallots adds another dimension to this. Squeeze the lime, and the citrus acidity from the lime juice will hold everything on the plate together. And finally, the coriander leaves round up this delicacy with a fresh note to the palate.

This recipe requires very less oil. That make this preparation a lot more healthier than a deep-fried fillet of fish!

Pan-Fried Masala Sea Bass
Pan-fried Masala Sea Bass

Try this pan-fried masala sea bass today! This is the celebration you get when you marry a fresh sea bass fillet with some great Indian masala flavours.

Pan-fried Masala Sea Bass
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5 from 1 vote

Pan-fried Masala Sea Bass

This pan-fried masala sea bass is a great balance of flavours. It's served on a tomato-chilli paste, and garnished with fried shallots and coriander leaves.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 pieces


  • 500 grams sea bass filleted

For the masala paste

  • 2 tablespoon kashmiri chili powder or paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon thinly sliced garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water

For the tomato-chilli paste

  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 3 dry kashmiri chillies
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water

For garnishing

  • 7-8 shallots
  • Cilantro (Coriander leaves) to garnish
  • 1 lime or lemon


  • Mix chili powder, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and salt with 1/4 cup water in a bowl to create a masala marinade.
  • Wipe off any excess water from the cleaned fillets, and score the skin about 1 cm apart
  • Cut the fillet to 3 or 4 pieces, and marinate for 15 minutes.
    Marinating fish fillets for the pan-fried masala sea bass
  • Heat some oil in a pan, and fry the sliced shallots on a medium flame stirring frequently.
  • Fry till the shallots turn brown, and switch off the flame.
  • Leave the shallots in the pan for some more time to get them to a crispy consistency.
  • Boil some water in a pot, and cook the kashmiri chillies and tomatoes till they are tender.
  • Switch off the flame, and when it's cooled down a bit, peel the tomatoes. Keep only the flesh.
  • Puree the tomatoes and kashmiri red chillies with 1/4 cup water in a blender.
    Cooked and pealed tomatoes, and kashmiri red chillies in the blender
  • Heat a pan, and reduce the blended tomato-chilly puree to a semi-thick paste.
  • Heat some olive oil in a thick non-stick pan, and on a medium flame fry the marinated fish fillet pieces.
  • Fry the pieces skin-side down.
    Sea bass fillets fried with the skin side on the pan
  • Once the skin side is cooked to a crispy consistency, turn them over and fry on the other side.
    Pan-frying in progress
  • Fry till the fish fillet pieces are cooked to a nice brownish texture on both sides.
  • Take them off the pan, and fry the remaining pieces as well.
  • To serve, apply a layer of the tomato-chili paste on a plate, and place a piece of the pan-fried sea bass on top of this.
  • Garnish with some crispy fried shallots, coriander leaves, and serve with a slice of lime.


  • Remember to score you fish. For enhanced results, marinate overnight in the fridge.
  • Always start frying with the skin-side down first. You can press the fish to the pan with your fingers to get a crispy skin.
  • Don't forget to squeeze some lime on the fried fillet just before eating. This citrus acidity completes the dish.


  1. 5 stars
    Tried your recipe for the first time and it turned out amazing ..my whole family loved it..thanks for such a recipe..keep doing the good work

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Thank you very much, Aisha.
      Delighted to hear that the masala seabass was received well-received by your family 🙂 🙂

  2. This sea bass looks amazing! I would love to try this out myself, but I’m afraid that I won’t be able to cook it anywhere near as well as yours! That skin looks deliciously crisp, and I love the mild flavour of sea bass – thanks for sharing, and perhaps I will try it when I’m feeling a bit adventurous.

    Joanne | https://fung-shui.com

  3. This looks delicious! Def will have to try.

  4. Sounds so good! Love the flavor combo

  5. Loved the recipe, bookmarked

  6. WOW!!! It looks really really delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  7. The flavors in that marinade look amazing and a perfect counterpoint to the milder sea bass — love this recipe idea.

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      Hi Rachel,
      That’s exactly what I was trying to achieve. Add some Indian masala flavours to the mild sea bass.
      Thank you!

  8. Fabulous flavors! Sea Bass is fantastic!

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