Pan fried tilapia/plaice with a curry leaf and lentil crust

Curry leaves can be found frozen in most supermarkets and make a fragrant addition to this gently spiced fish dish


Ingredients (Serves 4)


  • 4 tilapia or plaice fillets, cleaned
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil

For the crust



  • 4 tablespoons white lentils
  • 1 tablespoon split yellow chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 20 fresh curry leaves


Pat the fish fillets dry with kitchen paper and marinate with the salt, red chilli and lemon juice and set aside for 30 minutes.

To make the crust, spread the curry leaves on a baking tray and leave in a warm place (for example above your oven) until they become dry and crisp. Crush them lightly with your hands.

Mix together the lentils, fennel and cumin seeds and peppercorns and gently roast them in a heavy-based pan until the lentils turn golden brown and the spices release their flavour. Cool and transfer them to a mortar and pestle and pound to a coarse powder.

Remove and mix with the chilli flakes and curry leaves.

Dust the fish fillets with the lentil and curry leaves mix to form an even coating and fry in low heat for about 4 minutes on each side in a frying pan with the oil.

Remove and serve with curried yogurt.


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