Saturday, December 11, 2010

#41 Baked Fish Filet with Indian Spices

Some blissful memories of my childhood----------Amma oftentimes fried Mackeral/Ayala by marinating it in Indian spices. Then she would saute quite a bit of red onions, tomatoes, other spices and later on toss the fried fish and cilantro to make a wonderful and appetizing fish platter that was served up with rice or rotis. I have tried to remove the "fry" out of this dish to make it a healthier baked version for my little girls many years back.  

In Kerala, fish is fried very often because of the abundance of windows and doors providing plentiful outlets for ventilation that are normally found in homes built in tropical countries. This allows the distinctive pervasive aroma of fish to escape from the open kitchens built for cooking in this style.Meanwhile, here in the US if I decide to fry fish I also want to make sure that the aroma is not left behind on carpets, clothes and drapes. There being so little space for air to circulate and drive out the odors from the kitchen, I find it easier to light up some candles and other aromatherapy oil to remove the slightly fishy odor.   I do look for excuses to light candles all over the house:)

Tilapia is a variety of fish that originated from Mediterranean and African countries and has been successfully cultured around the world in temperate as well as tropical climates. The fish has been farmed in such large amounts in the US that they say it has now exceeded the amount of freshwater trout. Its mild flavor and fine grained flakes make it adaptable to the style and flavor of the cooking. No matter
how you cook it- fried, broiled, blackened or baked it can be used for dishes from all over the world. I noticed that Tilapia sends out less of an aroma when fried and is also suitable for baking as directed
in the following recipe.

The intense spiciness loaded into the fine grains of the Tilapia takes this dish to another level of perfection. I will admit that this dish is my guilt-free indulgence and to be frank, I do
indulge in a lot of seafood. In my opinion, I would describe this dish as a rapturous and mystical epicurean experience I must share with you!!!

Fish fillet(Tilapia, Catfish or Flounder may be used) -  3 lbs
Red onions(chopped) - 3 cups
Green chillies - 2 nos
(sliced fine)
Ripe tomatoes(large) - 2 nos
(finely chopped)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 - 2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tspn
Lemon juice - 2 Tblspns
Salt - As reqd
Olive oil - 3 Tblspn
Garlic-ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves(chopped) - 2 tbsp

1)Clean and place the Tilapia fillet in one layer in a baking dish.
2)Season with salt and pepper powder.
3)Heat oil in a saucepan.
4)Saute the onions and green chillies, until they turn translucent.
5)Add coriander powder, chilly powder, a pinch of pepper powder and ginger-garlic paste and saute, until the oil separates.
6)Add the tomatoes and stir well on low fire, until the mixture is soft and pulpy.
7)Remove from the flame.
8)Add lemon juice and salt.
9)Take the mixture in the saucepan and spread it evenly over the fish so as to cover the fish well.
10)Bake the fish in an oven at about 300 degrees for about 20 mins or just until the fish can be flaked with a butter knife.

11)Serve with vegetable pulao or bread/rotis.


  1. looks great love Kerala food :-) Rebecca

  2. Note: I do not appreciate comments without a name or identity in this space, I will report fraudulent activity.

  3. Someone has been posting unrelated comments (about 15-20 comments) each signed "Anonymous" The above response is directed at that person.


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