Fish Masala Chops

I am not a fan of the ubiquitous King Fish (Vanjiram), which people usually prefer to serve as large fried slices, whether it be a simple household or a star hotel. I find the disproportionately high price of King Fish also very off-putting. Cobia (Kadal Viraal) is at least 30 percent cheaper than King Fish or Sea Bass (Koduva), and much less smelly.

Fish Masala Chops

Fish Masala Chops

I always wanted to try something other than coating the fish with chilli powder and found this recipe in Mrs. Bhooma Ponnavaiko’s Asaiva Samayal Ulagam (The World of Non-Vegetarian Cooking). Even though the original recipe is for fish slices, I have used Cobia cubes. I also deleted coriander leaves from the recipe because the flavour of the ground curry leaves would dominate the masala and mask the flavour of coriander thereby making it unnecessary . It was a wise move, because it considerably enhanced the flavour.


  • ½ kg Cobia (Kadal Viraal), skinned and deboned cubes
  • 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • Vegetable Oil for shallow frying

For the masala

Grind together:

  • 2 green Chillies, deseeded
  • 6 cloves Garlic
  • 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Pepper powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Aniseed powder


  1. Wash and drain the fish cubes.
  2. Rub the ground masala and the salt on the cubes.
  3. Cover the vessel with cling film and leave in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  4. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. On low heat, fry a few cubes at a time, turning the pieces, now and then, to cook on all sides.
  5. Remove and serve with any rice preparation.


  1. If one doesn’t object to the taste, fresh water Pomfret, which is even cheaper than Cobia, can be used.
  2. Take care to fry only on low heat, so that the masala doesn’t get burnt.

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