Surmai Koli Masala Rawa Fry (Pan-fried Kingfish with Koli Masala)

I have become a little irregular with the blog posts for the last few weeks; thanks to work pressure and the perennial struggle trying to balance work and home. I havn’t really tried any new recipes in the this time and have been banking on my regular traditional quick fix recipes, without being adventurous about anything new.

The other day, the husband and I decided to squeeze in some time for ourselves between the mad rush of getting things done, and have a movie night at home. So we decided to keep it simple, some simple fried fish for both of us and chilled beer for him in the sweltering April heat and a few fun movies to watch.

I already wrote about the robustly flavorful Koli Masala of the fishermen folk of Konkan which Anjali Koli sells through her e-shop in another post. This is a quick recipe using the same spice blend and some very fresh Kingfish (Surmai) that I got at my local market. I tried vinegar as a souring agent in this kind of Indian preparation for the first time, as my friend Natasha had suggested, my usual choices being either lemon juice or kokum (Garcinia indica) extract; and I must say it worked quite well and made the flavors of the masala truly pop.


250g Kingfish (Surmai) slices, skin and single central bone intact;

1tbsp white wine vinegar;

10 cloves of garlic and 1” piece of ginger, crushed into a rough paste with mortar and pestle;

a handful of coriander/ cilantro leaves (hara dhania/kothimbir), roughly chopped;

1 tbsp Koli Masala;

Salt to taste;

Semolina (rawa) for coating the fish;

Oil, to shallow fry.


  1. Wash the Surmai slices properly under running water and pat dry with a kitchen towl.
  2. In a bowl, mix together vinegar, salt, ginger garlic paste, Koli Masala and coriander leaves to make a thick marinade.
  3. Coat the fish slices with this spice paste and allow to marinate for 15-30 minutes at room temperature (or longer in the fridge).
  4. Take semolina in a plate and coat the fish slices uniformly with the semolina.
  5. Heat a non-stick pan on high heat and then heat oil in it till it reaches a smoking temperature. Then gently place the fish slices into the pan and shallow fry on high heat for a minute.
  6. Lower the heat now and cook for 2-3 minutes more on the same side with the pan covered.
  7. Flip the fish and cook on the other side as before for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with sliced white onions and a wedge of lime.
Koli-masala marinated Surmai on the left and Surmai Koli Masala Rawa fry on the right..

Koli-masala marinated Surmai on the left and Surmai Koli Masala Rawa fry on the right..


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This entry was posted on April 30, 2015 by in Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , .
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