Fish Masala Recipe | Fish Masala Gravy | Machli Masala

4.94 from 16 votes
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Fish masala is a flavorful and aromatic dish that is popular in various cuisines around the world, particularly in Indian coastal regions where fish is abundant.

It is a delightful blend of spices and herbs combined with tender fish, creating a dish that is both satisfying and full of bold flavors.

The term “masala” refers to a mixture of ground spices commonly used in Indian and South Asian cuisines.

Fish masala typically involves marinating the fish in a rich blend of spices and then cooking it to perfection.

Fish Masala

Key Takeaways:

  • Fish masala is a flavorful and aromatic dish popular in various cuisines, particularly in Indian coastal regions.
  • It combines spices and herbs with tender fish, creating a satisfying and bold-flavored dish.
  • “Masala” refers to a mixture of ground spices commonly used in Indian and South Asian cuisines.
  • Fish masala involves marinating the fish in spices and cooking it to perfection.
  • The exact spice combination may vary, but common ingredients include coriander, turmeric, chili powder, ginger, garlic, and roasted cumin powder.

The Ingredients:

Fish Masala Ingredients

  • Pangas fish: 1 KG (cut into medium-sized chunks and properly cleaned)
  • Onion-ginger-garlic paste: (1 large size onion, 2 whole garlics and 2-inch ginger)
  • Tomato: chopped (1 large size tomato)
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder – ½ tbsp
  • Coriander powder – ½ tbsp
  • Cumin powder – ½ tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – ½ tbsp
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves 1 tbsp
  • Chilies: 2-3 green
  • Mustard oil: 3 tbsp

How to Cook Fish Masala (Step by Step Images)?

1. Marinate the fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder, and set them aside for 10 minutes.

Marinating the fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder

2. Heat oil in a pan.

Heating oil in a pan

3. Add the fish pieces one by one to the hot oil.

Adding fish pieces one by one to the hot oil

4. Fry them until they turn golden brown.

5. Remove the fried fish pieces from the pan.

Removing the fried fish pieces from the pan

6. Add whole cumin seeds, then add chopped tomatoes and onion-ginger-garlic paste in the remaining hot oil. Give them a good stir.

Adding whole cumin seeds, chopped tomatoes and onion-ginger-garlic paste and mixing

7. Add all the powdered spices (termeric, red chili, kashmiri red chili, coriander, and cumin) and a little bit of salt.

Adding all the powdered spices

8. Stir for a few minutes. Add a small amount of water and mix well.

Adding a small amount of water

9. The add 1 cup of water for the gravy (you can increase or decrease water for your required gravy consistency).

Adding 1 cup of water for the gravy

10. Once the water comes to a boil, add the fried fish gently to the cooking pan.

Add the fried fish gently to the cooking pan

11. Cover the pan with a lid.

Covering the pan with a lid

12. Add roasted cumin powder and 2-3 green chilis.

Adding roasted cumin powder and green chilis

13. Let the gravy simmer for a few more minutes. Sprinkle coriander leaves and turn off the gas.

Sprinkling coriander leaves

14. Fish masala is ready to be transferred to a bowl.

Fish masala is ready

Pro Tips for Cooking Fish Masala

Here are some pro tips to enhance your cooking experience when preparing fish masala:

Choose fresh fish: Opt for fresh fish with firm flesh and a mild aroma. This ensures that the fish is tender and flavorful when cooked.

Marination time: Allow the fish to marinate for at least 10 minutes or longer. This allows the spices to penetrate the fish, resulting in a more flavorful dish.

Use a variety of spices: Experiment with a combination of spices to create a depth of flavor. Common spices used in fish masala include cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, ginger, garlic, and garam masala. Adjust the quantities to suit your taste preferences.

Toast the spices (OPTIONAL): Before using the spices, dry roast them in a pan for a few minutes to release their natural oils and enhance their flavors. Be cautious not to burn them, as it can make the dish bitter.

Yogurt tenderizer (OPTIONAL): If you prefer a milder and tender fish, add yogurt to your marinade. The enzymes in yogurt help to break down the proteins in the fish, resulting in a more tender and succulent texture.

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Heat control: When cooking fish masala, maintain a medium-high heat to ensure that the fish is cooked evenly without overcooking or drying out. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.

Timing is crucial: Fish cooks relatively quickly, so be mindful of the cooking time. Overcooked fish can become dry and lose its delicate flavor. Cook the fish just until it flakes easily with a fork.

Garnish for freshness: Finish off your fish masala with a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro, mint, or lime juice. This adds a burst of freshness and brightens up the flavors of the dish.

Experiment and personalize: Don’t be afraid to experiment with the spices and ingredients to suit your taste preferences. Adjust the spice levels, add additional ingredients like tomatoes or coconut milk, and make the dish your own.

By following these pro tips, you can elevate your fish masala cooking skills and create a delicious and memorable dish that will impress your family and friends. Enjoy the culinary journey!

What to Serve with Fish Masala?

Fish masala pairs well with a variety of sides and accompaniments that complement its flavors. Here are some popular options to serve alongside fish masala:

Rice: Steamed basmati rice is a classic choice to serve with fish masala. Its fluffy texture and neutral taste help balance the spices of the dish. You can also try aromatic varieties like saffron rice or lemon rice for added flavor.

Bread: Naan, a traditional Indian bread, is a fantastic choice to mop up the flavorful sauce of fish masala. Alternatively, you can serve roti or chapati, which are thin whole wheat bread options.

Remember, the choice of sides and accompaniments can vary based on personal preferences and regional traditions. Feel free to mix and match to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal that complements the flavors of fish masala.

How Does Fish Masala Taste?

Fish masala has a rich and complex flavor profile that is influenced by the combination of spices used in its preparation.

The taste can vary depending on the specific spices and ingredients used, as well as the cooking method employed. However, here is a general description of the taste of fish masala:

Spicy: Fish masala is known for its spiciness. The spices used, such as chili powder, ginger, and garlic, contribute to a moderate to high level of heat in the dish. The level of spiciness can be adjusted based on personal preference.

Aromatic: The combination of spices in fish masala creates an aromatic experience. Cumin, coriander, and garam masala impart a warm and fragrant essence to the dish. The spices are often toasted before use, intensifying their flavors and adding depth to the overall taste.

Earthy: Some spices used in fish masala, like cumin and turmeric, provide an earthy undertone to the dish. This adds a grounding flavor element that complements the natural taste of the fish.

Tangy and Citrusy: Many fish masala recipes include the addition of tangy elements like lemon juice or yogurt. These ingredients contribute a tangy and citrusy flavor that helps balance the spices and adds a refreshing note to the overall taste.

Umami: The combination of spices, along with the fish itself, creates a savory and umami-rich profile. This makes the dish savory and deeply satisfying.

Fish Flavor: While the spices and seasonings play a prominent role, the taste of the fish itself shines through. Depending on the type of fish used, the taste can range from mild and delicate to slightly stronger and fishier. The fish’s flavor combines with the spices to create a harmonious balance.

Overall, fish masala offers a well-rounded flavor experience, combining spiciness, warmth, tanginess, and the natural taste of the fish. The precise taste can vary based on personal preferences, regional variations, and the specific recipe followed.

Fish Masala Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to fish masala, here are a few options that you might consider:

Chicken Masala: Instead of fish, you can prepare a delicious chicken masala dish. Marinate chicken pieces in a similar blend of spices, such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, ginger, garlic, and garam masala. Cook the marinated chicken in a pan or simmer it in a flavorful tomato-based sauce for a satisfying and aromatic chicken masala dish.

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Paneer Masala: Paneer is a popular Indian cheese that works well in masala preparations. You can substitute fish with paneer cubes and prepare a paneer masala dish. Marinate the paneer in spices, pan-fry or grill it, and then cook it in a tomato-based gravy with aromatic spices. It offers a vegetarian alternative with a creamy and rich taste.

Vegetable Masala: For a vegetarian option, you can create a vegetable masala dish. Use a variety of vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, peas, carrots, and bell peppers. Sauté the vegetables with spices and cook them in a flavorful tomato or coconut-based sauce. It’s a hearty and nutritious alternative to fish masala.

Tofu Masala: If you prefer a vegan option, you can replace fish with tofu in a tofu masala dish. Marinate the tofu in spices and pan-fry it until golden brown. Prepare a masala sauce with onions, tomatoes, and a blend of spices. Add the tofu to the sauce and simmer until the flavors meld together.

Egg Masala: Another alternative is to make an egg masala dish. Hard-boiled eggs can be marinated in spices and then cooked in a spiced tomato or onion-based gravy. The eggs soak up the flavors, resulting in a delicious and protein-packed dish.

These alternatives provide a range of options for those who may prefer different proteins or have dietary restrictions.

They can be served with similar accompaniments as fish masala, such as rice, and bread. Feel free to experiment and adapt the recipes to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Recipe Card:

Fish Masala

Fish Masala (Fish Masala Gravy)

By Mita Mondal
Fish masala refers to a flavorful and aromatic dish made with fish that is marinated salt and turmeric powder and then cooked to perfection. The term "masala" refers to a mixture of ground spices commonly used in Indian and South Asian cuisines.
4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5
Calories 305 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kg Pangas Fish (Cut into medium-sized chunks and properly cleaned)
  • 1 piece Tomato (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon Red chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon Coriander powder
  • ½ tablespoon Cumin powder
  • ½ tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • ½ tablespoon Roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander leaves
  • 3 pieces Green chilies
  • 3 tablespoons Mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

For Making Paste

  • 1 piece Onion (pasted)
  • 2 pieces Garlic (pasted)
  • 2 inch Ginger (pasted)

Instructions
 

  • Start by marinating the fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder. Allow them to sit for at least 10 minutes, which will enhance the flavor.
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Carefully add the marinated fish pieces one by one into the hot oil. Fry them until they turn a beautiful golden brown color and are cooked through. This step adds a crispy and flavorful texture to the fish.
  • Once the fish is fried, remove the pieces from the pan and set them aside.
  • In the same pan, add whole cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a moment. Then, add the chopped tomatoes and onion-ginger-garlic paste. Give them a good stir and cook until the tomatoes soften and the mixture becomes fragrant.
  • Add all the powdered spices, including turmeric, red chili, Kashmiri red chili, coriander, and cumin, along with a little bit of salt. Stir the spices for a few minutes to release their aromas and flavors.
  • Pour a small amount of water into the pan and mix well with the spice mixture. This helps create a thick and flavorful gravy.
  • Gradually add 1 cup of water to the pan, adjusting the amount based on your desired gravy consistency. Allow the water to come to a gentle boil.
  • Carefully place the fried fish pieces back into the pan, ensuring they are fully submerged in the gravy. Cover the pan with a lid to trap the flavors and steam the fish.
  • Add roasted cumin powder and 2-3 green chilies to the gravy, giving it an additional layer of aroma and heat.
  • Let the gravy simmer for a few more minutes, allowing the fish to absorb the flavors of the spices and the gravy to thicken slightly. Sprinkle fresh coriander leaves over the dish for a touch of freshness.
  • Finally, turn off the heat and transfer the Fish Masala to a serving bowl.

Video

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Notes

Fish selection: Choose fresh fish with firm flesh and a mild aroma. Opt for fish varieties that are suitable for cooking in curries or masala preparations, such as pomfret, tilapia, pangas, rohu, katla or cod. You can also use fish steaks or fillets, depending on your preference.
Marination time: Marinating the fish with salt and turmeric powder helps enhance its flavor. Allow the fish to marinate for at least 10 minutes, or longer if possible, to allow the spices to penetrate the fish and infuse it with flavor.
Spice customization: The spice quantities mentioned in the recipe can be adjusted based on your personal preference for spiciness and flavor. Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of red chili powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, or other spices to suit your taste.
Heat control: Maintain a medium-high heat while cooking to ensure that the fish cooks evenly without overcooking or drying out. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.
Garnish with fresh herbs: Adding a sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) on top of the finished dish enhances its visual appeal and adds a burst of freshness to the flavors.
Adjusting gravy consistency: The amount of water added to the gravy can be adjusted to achieve your desired consistency. If you prefer a thicker gravy, reduce the amount of water. For a thinner gravy, add more water gradually until you reach the desired consistency.
Additional ingredients: While the basic recipe focuses on the key spices and ingredients, you can add other elements to personalize the dish. For example, you can incorporate diced onions or bell peppers, grated coconut, tomato puree, or even a splash of lemon juice to add variation and depth to the flavors.
Serving suggestions: Fish Masala pairs well with steamed rice, jeera rice, biryani, bread (such as naan or roti), or even crusty bread rolls. 
Remember, you can always adjust the recipe according to your taste preferences and experiment with different ingredients to create your own unique version of Fish Masala. 

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Fish Masala (Fish Masala Gravy)
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
305
Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
17
g
26
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
5
g
Cholesterol
 
71
mg
24
%
Sodium
 
1011
mg
44
%
Potassium
 
225
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
7
g
2
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
31
g
62
%
Vitamin A
 
945
IU
19
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
40
mg
4
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Conclusion

Fish masala is a tantalizing dish that combines the flavors of tender fish with a blend of aromatic spices.

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It offers a balance of spiciness, warmth, tanginess, and the natural taste of the fish itself.

Whether you prefer a milder or spicier version, fish masala can be customized to suit your palate.

With its vibrant flavors and versatile nature, fish masala is a delightful culinary experience that seafood enthusiasts can savor and enjoy.

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