Flip Cookbook

Girl geek foodies making healthy cooking fun and easy.


Easy (Spicy!) Tilapia Indian style

My first attempt at fish! Wooohooo! and it was successful! I would still call this a work-in-progress so don’t use the recipe right away! I was just so excited that I had cooked fish without having to dump it in the garbage and it looked so beautiful that I had to share it with everyone! πŸ™‚

So… there is a story behind me cooking non-vegetarian food. I’m one of those hypocrites who can eat non-veggie stuff, just can’t cook it. I also refer to myself as a “Chicki-tarian” because I eat chicken, but then how do I add fish to this? Then I’ve heard Raj say that she is a Pescatarian and I thought of combining those 2 terms, just haven’t found a term for it yet :P! So anyways… I’ve been gluten free for 2 weeks now and the first thing that happened to me was this weird urge to have protein. I was dreaming eggs and fish like crazy. But then the thought of having smelt the fish as I cooked it, would’ve been enough to keep me away from it. Hence the hypocrite…

As we walked through Whole foods on our last trip, I finally gathered enough courage to walk up to the meat section, and tell the man behind the counter that I wanted to buy some fish, that wouldn’t smell as I cooked it. The first word out of his mouth was Tilapia, and then my brain just switched off… I don’t remember the other fishes he pointed to :P! I came home with my catch, and thought of different ways to cook the fish. Now I had to make sure I completely killed the smell and taste of fish (yes I am nuts! :)) and the only thing that came to my mind is put enough spice so that all you taste is spice! I used Kashmiri mirch (chili powder) which gives the beautiful color and isn’t as spicy as the regular chili powder found in Indian grocery stores. I also used the first box of Garam Masala (Indian spice blend), yes we have a gazillion spice mixes across India, and used that to season it. I think I should have marinated the fish for longer, because I could still get a mild fishy smell. To counter that I squeezed loads of lemon juice over it as I ate it! Since the rest of my family is pure vegetarian, I even lit an incense stick afterwards to help them! Such a sweetheart aren’t I? πŸ™‚

The reason I call it a work-in-progress is because without the lemon juice over it, it still had a slight fishy smell, then again it is fish! I don’t know if that was because it was the first time I was cooking it or because it hadn’t marinated for long, but the next time I make it I will either marinate it for longer or make a curry out of it!

Easy (Spicy!) Tilapia Indian style

Makes: 2 servings
Ready in: 20 minutes prep time + 5 minutes cooking time


  • 0.28 lbs tilapia (1 piece of tilapia at Whole Foods)
  • 1 tbsp EVOO + extra to grease the pan
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala of choice (I used Everest Chole Masala)
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Mirch
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro and lemon to garnish


1. Cut the fish into 2 inch long strips. In my case my the fish was already de-boned when I bought it and had 2 parts to it. I essentially separated it completely and then cut both the pieces in half. The only reason I did this was so that the fish would sit nicely in my marinating bowl! Rub salt and then turmeric over the fish and keep it aside.

2. Mix the Vinegar, Oil, Garam Masala and Kashmiri Mirch.

3. Dip each piece of fish in this mix. Let the fish marinate for 15 minutes.

4. Set the pan to medium-low heat. I set the heat on 3 on my stove. I wanted my fish to be extra spicy so I tabbed some left over mix onto each individual piece. The fish seared on one side for 2 minutes and then 2 minutes on the other side.

5. I used the fork lightly to see that the fish was done. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lemon wedges.

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9 Responses to Easy (Spicy!) Tilapia Indian style

  1. js says:

    Tilapia would not be my first non-fishy choice. My husband loves most fish, but this one he thinks tastes like dirt. Salmon and swordfish are much better.

  2. Anju says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I tried tilapia for the first time using this, didn’t put vinegar and it still was very tasty!!

  3. xania says:

    Hi – this fish recipes sound nice – we like spicy but I have a question – where can I find Kashmiri Mirch, at the local Indian grocery? Also, for this recipe, are you using it in a powder – or a dried whole chili? Thanks


  4. xania says:

    Sorry – I just read the paragraphs above the recipe… chili powder – got it – Thanks – bon appetit!

    • Sonia says:

      Hi Xania, How did the fish turn out?? So Kashmiri mirch isn’t the same as regular chili powder. It gives a beautiful red color and isn’t as spicy so you can use more than the same amount of chili powder that you would have in a dish. And, Yes, Kashmiri mirch can be found at your local Indian grocery store! πŸ™‚

      I’ve been wanting to eat fish for a while and seeing your comment, now makes me want to make some!

  5. Debjani says:

    Tried this recipe yesterday. Honestly, I was not sure how a fish will turn out without onion, ginger and garlic. But it was awesome. Thank you so much for this one. I have been looking for a recipe blog which will cater to my Indian palate without ruining my diet or taking up too much of my time. Looks like I have found my destination. Thanks again.

    • Sonia says:

      Well, welcome! I’m glad you found Flipcookbook πŸ™‚

      Raj and I both had to change our diets and we weren’t willing to sacrifice taste or convenience for it and that is how our blog was born. Without sounding like I’m advertising about it, you might want to check out http://www.velvetaroma.com/explore/c/diets/ . If you do, I would love to hear about your experience on the site. That was our next venture… to bring special diets and recipes created by bloggers to everyone! πŸ™‚ We all find beautiful recipes on food network and/or other places, but no one shows us how to make them for our restricted diets. Bloggers do! πŸ˜€

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