Crispy Delights—A Guide to Desi Battered Fried Fish

There’s something undeniably irresistible about the crispy, golden perfection of battered fried fish – a favorite in many culinary traditions worldwide. In this post, we’ll explore how to create a mouthwatering version with a Desi (South Asian) twist, incorporating flavors and techniques that make this dish truly special.

The Fish

The Fish

Any white fish will work for this dish—something light and thin like tilapia fillets are perfect! To prep the fish, wash with water and lemon juice. Then pat dry and slice into one inch pieces. Set aside while preparing the batter.

The Batter

The Batter

To make the batter, combine all purpose flour with corn starch or rice flour. The corn starch helps the make (and keep) the batter extra crispy once fried. Then add the following spices: turmeric, coriander powder, red chili powder, and salt to taste. Whisk all the dry ingredients together until well blended.

Now start to add the water little by little, mixing all the while. You want a nice thick consistency—like a pancake batter. Once fully combined, all a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. Optional additions are thinly sliced Thai chilis and onions to make it really special!

Frying the Fish

Frying the Fish

Add the patted dry fish pieces to the batter and mix them in well until they’re all fully coated.

Heat a medium pot on medium high heat and add a neutral oil like grape seed. Add an even layer of fish to the pot and let it cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden before flipping over and allowing the other side to fry till golden brown as well.

Enjoying the Fish

Drain the fried fish on a paper towel lined plate and top with a little more freshly chopped cilantro. You can enjoy this as a snack with some dipping sauces or as a full meal—with some rice and homemade salsa or salad.


  • 5 tilapia fillets, sliced into one inch pieces
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour with cornstarch, turmeric, coriander powder, red chicken powder, and salt

2. Add water while mixing the batter until it reaches a thick pancake like consistency

3. Add the fish into the batter and mix until each piece is completely coated

4. Head a pot on medium high heat and add an even layer of fish. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until cooked they’re golden brown

5. Drain fried fish on a paper towel lined plate, garnish more freshly chopped cilantro and enjoy!


  • Add a chunk of carrot to the hot oil whenever frying to prevent the oil from burning
  • Optional: add thinly sliced Thai chilis and onions to the batter before frying fish for even more flavor

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