Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fried fish roe

In the West fish roe is available in late January, February and early March time. I find cod roe is suitable for frying but herring roes are not suitable for frying. Cod roe is available in small and big sizes. Small ones are tastier. When you buy fish roe, try to buy whole roes and see that there are no traces of green colour anywhere - this is bile and has a bitter taste and should be discarded. Also some fish mongers sell cooked roes and you could use them instead and these need not be cooked before frying. I of course prefer fresh roes.


Fish roe 300 Gms - whole
Turmeric powder ½ teaspoons
Chilli powder 1 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Oil for frying


If fresh then wash and clean the roes and do not cut. If the whole roe is bigger than about 3 to 4 inches in length, then you have to cook it first before frying. The way to do is to wrap it in muslin cloth and tie round it to preserve the shape, place this bundle in a pot and add water and salt to taste and cook until it is cooked and firm. Drain and leave to cool for some time. If you have bought cooked roes, then you do not need to cook them again. Cut the cooked roes into smaller pieces about one to two inches wide.

In a dish, mix the chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt - will require less salt, remember you have added salt to the water in which roe was boiling - and make a paste.

Put the roes into this paste and smear the paste all over the roe pieces.
In a frying pan in hot oil fry this carefully in low fire turning them until they turn golden. Be careful, the roes might split in very hot oil, so cover the pan.

If the roes are smaller than 3-4 inches in length, then just prepare the chilli paste as above and smear all over the roes.
Shallow fry them in low heat turning occasionally. Cover the frying pan as this will split in hot oil.

Alternatively, you can dip the roe pieces in beaten egg and smear with bread crumbs and deep fry them in oil. I prefer the earlier method as they bring out the flavour and taste of the roes.

Alternatively if they are bigger than 3-4 inches, fresh and uncooked, rather than cooking first, they can be smeared with a paste of red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Then wrap them neatly with little oil in baking foil and make them into smaller parcels. Then place them in the oven and cook at 180 C for about 20 to 30 minutes, check if not cooked and firm, leave for longer time. Once cooked remove and shallow fry in oil until they turn golden in colour. This is ideal for larger roes.

Serve with: Rice dishes or as a snack.


Fried Fish curry

This dish has a different taste and flavour from the fish curry.


Fish 500 Gms - Tuna, salmon, Mullet etc.
Onions 2 medium
Curry powder 2 tablespoons - not roasted
Garlic 5 clove
Green chillies 4
Tamarind paste ½ teaspoons
Chilli powder 1tablespoons
Turmeric powder ½ teaspoons
Coconut milk 1 cup
Salt to taste
Oil for frying


First fry the fish as in fried fish recipe and save this without any oil.

Grind the one onion, garlic, curry powder, tamarind paste and salt with little water in a grinder to a smooth paste.

Dice other onion and cut green chillies length wise into two.

In a pan, place the ground paste, 2 tablespoons of diced onions, cut green chillies and 1 cup water and slowly bring to boil on a low heat.

Wait until the curry powder is cooked and the liquid is reduced to half. Now add the fried fish and the milk, bring to boil.

Simmer on low fire until gravy thickens to your liking.

Shake the pan gently as the gravy thickens.

Serve with: rice dishes


Ambul Thiyal

This is a classic signature dish of southern Sri Lanka and the speciality of this dish is it will last up to one week in room temperature without getting spoilt. This is prepared in clay pots and uses tamarind which acts as a preservative. In Sinhalese areas they serve this dish during New Year with Kiri Bath.

This dish has a similarity to our fish Theeyal curry.


Tuna 500 grams
Goraka about 5 pieces OR tamarind paste 1 table spoon
Black pepper ground powder 1 ½ teaspoon
Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
Cinnamon two inch long piece
Garlic 2 cloves
Curry powder roasted ½ teaspoon
Chilli Powder ½ tea spoon
Salt to taste
Curry leaves few
Rampe (Pandan leaf) 1
Water 1 cup


Wash and cut the fish into 2 inch cubes and place them in a clay pot.

Add salt, pepper powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and curry powder to the fish and mix well so that all the pieces are well coated.

In a pan boil some water with the Goraka until it is soft and then crush it to a paste. If you are using tamarind paste it is already a paste. Add this paste to the fish and mix again well.

Add one cup water, Rampe, curry leaves, cinnamon and crushed garlic to the fish and stir.

 Cook over slow heat until the fish is done.


Fried fish


                 Fried Fish


Fish - any kind 500 Gms
Chilli powder 1 tablespoon
Crushed red chillies ½ tablespoon - optional
Turmeric powder ½ teaspoons
Salt to taste
Oil for frying


Clean, wash and cut fish into slices of about ¾ inch wide slices or 1 inch cubes.

In a pan mix the chilli powder, crushed red chillies, turmeric powder and salt with little water into a smooth paste.

Add the fish to this paste and mix so that all the fish pieces have been smeared on all sides with the paste.

Leave for 20 minutes to rest.

In hot oil in a saucepan, shallow fry the fish on one side for five minutes and turn over carefully to the other side and fry further. Make sure all the spice paste has been cooked. Drain and remove.

You can add more chilli powder if you want this to be hotter.

Serve with: Rice etc


Fish Theeyal curry - sour fish curry



Fresh tuna 500 Gms
Chilli powder 1 teaspoons
Green chillies 3
Onion 1 medium
Tamarind paste 1 tablespoons
Vinegar 2 tablespoons
Curry leaves 8
Salt to taste
Water 2 cups
Oil 2 tablespoons


Dice onions, cut green chillies into two lengthwise.

Clean and wash the fish, cut to 1 ½ inch cubes and dry on a paper towel.

Soak the tamarind in the vinegar and dissolve it well, do not leave any lumps.

In a pan place the fish pieces and add the tamarind vinegar solution, chilli powder, cut green chillies, diced onions, curry leaves salt and water.

Mix well so that the fish pieces are well coated with all the ingredients. Set aside for 45 minutes.

Keep pan on low fire and bring to boil and reduce fire and simmer uncovered until fish is cooked and the gravy is somewhat thick.

Do not stir at all but shake the pan gently occasionally. This dish will keep for few days.

Serve with: Rice


When there were no refrigerators in the olden days, and when the fish was available in the evenings it was cheap.

The fish was cleaned and cut to size.

These were then placed in a clay pot and turmeric powder, onions, green chillies, tamarind and sufficient water were added and the pot covered.

This then was cooked in low heat until all the liquid had evaporated.

This then was left overnight and then made into a curry the next day

This process was to preserve the fish overnight and was called Theeyal fish.