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Masala Fish with Coley Fillet

Masala fish featuring a coley fillet coated in a well-flavoured wet masala paste before being pan-fried to perfection with a crispy skin.

The fish is salted for 30 minutes to firm up the fish and then it cooks in just 5 minutes, making this dish a super quick meal!

Masala fish fillet (coley) served with masala chips.

Spicy Indian Pan Fried Coley

Since returning to the UK just over a year ago there has been a sharp uptick in the number of fish recipes that I have created.

This is a combination of my love of the stuff and the fact that good quality fish is readily available.

My latest masala fish recipe uses a sadly neglected fish called coley. It is from the same family as cod, hake, haddock and pollock.

It’s a meaty white fish that has a wonderful flavour and fillet of coley costs less than half of the price of many of the other mentioned above.

It does fall apart a little easier than some of the more expensive cuts. But as far as I am concerned it has a slightly better flavour.

Here it is combined with Indian flavours and pan-fried to create a boldly flavoured perfectly cooked fish centrepiece for a meal.

It joins other Indian fish dishes like whole tandoori fish, macher jhol and Keralan fish curry.

Masala fish fillet (coley) cut open to show the flesh served with masala chips.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of fish should I use?

This recipe is designed to be made with a firm white and meaty fish.

The timings (give or take 60 seconds) work perfectly for cod, coley, haddock, hake (whiting) or pollock fillets.

I use coley because it is a wonderful fish that is by far the cheapest on the list and it is also the most sustainable.

Why salt the fish?

In part, because I use coley, it has the largest flakes and has a tendency to break up a little. Salting the fish both seasons it and draws out a little of the water firming up the fillet and helping it hold together.

What is amchoor?

Amchoor or amchur as it is often spelt is an often overlooked spice made from ground dried green mango.

It has a wonderful earthy sour flavour that I use a great deal in my Indian-inspired recipes so don’t worry about having it lying around in your cupboard.

Here are just a few places where you can find it used here, murgh makhani or butter chicken, monkfish curry, and beef vindaloo.

Overhead crispy skinned masala fish fillet (coley) served with masala chips.

Serving Suggestions

I serve my masala fish fillet with my masala chips recipe here, making it a lighter and fun Indian-influenced fish and chips.

Sticking with the potato theme it works equally well with my roasted Bombay potatoes.

However, it would be great with so many dishes, I’m particularly fond of serving this with dhal. Tarka dhal or dhal makhani both work particularly well.

Other vegetable-based curries that this sits well alongside include, my vegetable karahi, aloo matar and my vegan butter bean curry.

Close up crispy skinned masala fish fillet (coley) served with masala chips.

Equipment Used

I only recommend specific brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovertop.
  • 24cm or 10″ (minimum) nonstick frying pan.
  • Fish slice or palette knife.
  • Mixing bowls.
  • Pastry brush.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring spoons.
Spicy Indian inspired masala fish fillet (coley) served with masala chips.
Yield: 2 Servings

Pan Fried Masala Fish Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Marinade Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This Indian-inspired pan-fried masala fish uses some wonderful and cheap coley fillet and after 30 minutes of salting it takes just 5 minutes to cook.


  • 400g (14oz) Coley Fish Fillets
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • ½ Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • ½ Tsp Garam Masala
  • ¼ Tsp Chilli Powder
  • ¼ Tsp Ground Coriander
  • ¼ Tsp Amchoor
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 30g (2 Tbsp) Butter


  1. Season the fish with the salt and allow it to sit for 30 minutes, this will cure the fish a little and firm it up.
  2. Peel and mash the garlic clove into a paste.
  3. Combine the lemon juice with the garlic, turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder, ground coriander and amchoor.
  4. Wash the fish and then dry it well paying particular attention to the skin.
  5. Paint the flesh of the fish (not the skin) with the lemon juice mix and allow it to sit whilst the pan heats up.
  6. Heat a 28 or 11" non-stick frying pan over a high-medium heat and when it is hot add the oil.
  7. Place the fish, skin side down in the frying pan and cook for 3 minutes, do not touch the fish, leave it alone!
  8. Flip the fish and add the butter, cook for a further 90 seconds - 2 minutes basting the fish with the butter as it cooks. Then serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 228mgSodium: 605mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 54g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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