Pan-fried Masala Sea Bass
Print Recipe

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.