Masala ma taraeli machchi

Masala ma taraeli machchi

Parsee-style fried fish

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

This is a classic Parsee fish marinated in a simple masala and shallow fried. I love to serve it with my all-time favourite, dhan daar nay vaghar, which is cooked, puréed lentils sizzled with garlic and cumin and served with deep-fried crisp onions as well as the rice. Pomfret (pompano) is the favourite fish in India but sea bass, plaice, tilapia or, even, coley is fine. Dust the marinated fillets in flour, coat in beaten egg, then semolina or coarse-ground rice instead of breadcrumbs. Deep-fry until crisp and golden. Both styles produce great results.


Quantity Ingredient
8 small pieces white fish fillet, each about 10 cm long
salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon medium-hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
or 1 large garlic clove, crushed, mixed with 3/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
oil, for frying

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
lime wedges
sliced fried potatoes


  1. Rub salt and turmeric into the fillets and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Make a paste with the remaining ingredients except the oil. Taste the paste and check for seasoning. If you like more lime juice or salt, go ahead and add.
  3. Spread the paste over the fish and either cook straight away or cover well and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, if liked (the marinade may cure the fish to a degree so less cooking time will be required).
  4. Heat enough oil to cover the base of a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the fish gently until browned well underneath before carefully turning it over to cook the other sides. Do not make the pan too hot, as the masala will burn very rapidly. When ready the fish should be crisp on the outside and delicately soft on the inside.
  5. Drain on paper towels, if necessary, and serve with tomatoes, fresh lime and sliced fried potatoes. Alternatively, you can also dust the fish lightly in rice before adding to the pan.
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