Chili fish


When I first moved to Singapore about 7 years ago, I had no idea of how an authentic Chinese food would taste. I landed here with a reflection of food what I had back home but that was just not what I was going to taste. At first I kind of didn’t even like the smell forget about savoring the food. It took me a while for me to bring back the tag-line ‘I love Chinese food’, and understand the nuances of real Chinese cuisine versus Indian Chinese 🙂

The latter is indeed very popular all over India – be it a road side push cart, or a fine dining restaurant. It’s more like Chinese cooking methods customized to suit the Indian palate. I am a big fan of this cuisine and I am sharing one of my personal favourite today – Chilli fish! The list of ingredients and process might look long but trust me it is really easy and you are not going to be disappointed.

You need –

  • Fish 500 grams, I have used King fish but use any firm fleshed fish.

For the marinade –

  • Chili powder 1 teaspoon
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 2 teaspoons
  • Lemon juice – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt to taste

For the batter

  • Corn flour 2 tablespoons
  • All purpose flour 2 tablespoons
  • Paprika – 3/4 teaspoon
  • Pepper powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required
  • Oil for frying

For the sauce –

  • Onion 1 small
  • Garlic 3 cloves, minced
  • Ginger – minced 1 teaspoon
  • Green chilies – 2 or as per taste, Slit
  • Bell pepper – 1 medium sized, cut into cubes
  • Spring onion – chopped, 1/4 cup
  • Chili sauce – 2 tablespoons or to your taste
  • tomato sauce – 1 tablespoon
  • Dark soy sauce – 2 teaspoons
  • Corn flour – 1 teaspoon
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil as required



How to –

In bowl, mix all the ingredients under “For the marinade” . Add the fish and mix till well coated. Marinate the fish for at least an hour.

To make the batter, stir in all the ingredients under “for the batter” and make a thick paste by adding just enough water. Make sure the batter is not to runny or too thick. The batter should be thick enough to coat the fish pieces.

Now heat oil in a frying pan. Dip the fish pieces in the batter and fry them in small batches till evenly browned. Drain on a kitchen towel and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or a pan; tip the ginger and garlic and cook briefly. Add the chopped onions and green chilies and cook till the onions are soft.

Add the bell pepper and cook for a minute. Add the fish and mix well. Now reduce the heat to low and add the soy sauce, tomato sauce and chili sauce. Stir well.

Add 1 teaspoon of corn flour to about ½ a cup of water; stir well and add it to the fish. Cook over low heat till the sauce thickens mixing gently.  Please adjust the water to get the desired consistency.

Add the chopped spring onions and serve hot with fried rice.




11 thoughts on “Chili fish

  1. Rekha i am drooling here….seeing this chilli fish.. i feel like cooking and having it with nice steamed rice,, forget the fried rice for time being….where to go for fish now???

  2. Totally agree with you. ..Indian Chinese food is quite different from the authentic Chinese food. But just like you I too enjoy the Indian version of Chinese more. Chili fish looks so delectable and not anything else but fried rice is the right one to go with it!

  3. I can’t stand the so called Chinese food that is catered made to please the Indian palate. I rather love the authentic Chinese cuisine. However, that said, I do not try cooking Chinese food much at home but this fish looks amazing. I am certainly going to try this very soon. thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  4. Love this chili fish. For me it was the other way around, after tasting American Chinese, I encountered the Indo version years later and fell hard. Like no other that is my favorite adaptation of Chinese cooking.

  5. Rekha have been wanting to try this recipe for a long time… And it turned out wonderfully delicious. Amazing photo too.

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