Lemon Pepper Fish

Updated: August 20, 2023, By Swasthi

Lemon Pepper Fish is a simple Indian style side dish of pan fried fish, marinated with lemon juice and spiced with crushed pepper. This dish is simple to make but really big on flavors! After you make this lemon pepper fish, you are sure to say “No more bland fish”. Serve this as an appetizer or a side with any meal. It goes well with roasted vegetables, plain rice and Rasam on the side or simply serve it with a bowl of your favorite soup.

Lemon pepper fish made with fresh fish, black pepper, lemon and garlic

To make this lemon pepper fish, you can use any kind of fish that has a firm flesh. I have used fresh water fish here. You can also use salmon but it does not absorb the flavors of spices.

This lemon pepper fish is made in South Indian style with curry leaves and spices like fennel, red chilli powder, ginger garlic and green chilies. I have given substitutes that you may easily find to make the dish.

To make this, fish is marinated for a short time with turmeric, red chilli powder, salt and lemon juice. Later we fry the ginger garlic & green chilies in little ghee and then the marinated fish is roasted until cooked through. Lastly we add crushed black pepper, ground fennel and curry leaves.

If you love the South Indian flavors, you will instantly fall in love with this lemon pepper fish. Add a dash of more lemon juice if you want before serving.

More Fish Recipes
Tandoori Salmon
Fish Curry
Salmon Curry
Crispy Fish Fry
Andhra Fish Fry

Photo Guide

How to Make Lemon Pepper Fish (Stepwise Photos)

1. Rinse fish well and pat dry completely with kitchen tissues. Marinate with turmeric, chilli powder, little salt and lemon juice. If you have some time, it can be left aside for 15 mins.

marinate fish

2. Crush fennel and black pepper. We prefer a fine powder, you can use coarsely crushed powder.

powder pepper saunf

3. Heat ghee or oil in a pan. I suggest using a wide pan. I use ghee for this recipe as it enhances the flavour. Saute ginger garlic paste and green chili until the raw smell disappears.

fry ginger garlic for lemon pepper fish fry

4. Add the fish and fry on a medium heat for 2 to 3 mins.

making healthy lemon pepper fish fry

5. Turn them and fry on the other side as well for 2 to 3 mins.

Flip them and fry

6. Add curry leaves and half of the pepper powder. Continue to fry for 2 more mins. I had to set aside half of the fish since the pan was crowded. I suggest using a wide pan if you are using many fish pieces.

addition of curry leaves

7. Turn them and repeat sprinkling the powder. Fry until the fish is roasted completely.

sprinkling the pepper powder

Serve lemon pepper fish as a side in a meal with onion wedges. If you want you may sprinkle more lemon juice.

lemon pepper fish recipe

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

lemon pepper fish

Lemon Pepper Fish Recipe

5 from 15 votes
Lemon pepper fish is a simple dish when fish is marinated and cooked with lemon juice, black pepper, garlic and herbs. It is full of flavors and is great to serve as a side.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1 lb fish (450 to 500 grams, any firm fish)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (I used 1½ tsp pepper corn)
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds / saunf
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves (or 10 mint leaves or 2 tablespoons coriander leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 to 2 green chilies slit and chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon oil or ghee (ghee tastes best)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala (optional , or any seasoning)

To Marinate

  • 1½ to 2 tablespoon lemon juice ( 1 lemon)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (or chilli flakes)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)


  • Add the fish pieces to a mixing bowl. Pour lemon juice all over and sprinkle salt, turmeric and red chilli powder. Set this aside for minimum 15 mins.
  • Powder together fennel seeds and pepper corn in a small grinder.

How to Make Lemon Pepper Fish

  • Heat a wide pan with ghee or oil.
  • Once it becomes hot, reduce the heat and add ginger garlic paste, green chilies. Fry until it turns aromatic, for about 60 seconds. Do not burn this.
  • Spread the oil well in the pan. Place the fish pieces. Fry them for 2 to 3 mins.
  • Turn them to the other side and fry again for another 2 to 3 mins.
  • Sprinkle half of the pepper and saunf powder evenly. Add curry leaves.
  • Turn them and sprinkle the rest of the powder. Fry until the fish is cooked through. To test, prick it with a fork at the thickest part, it should flake easily. The internal temperature should reach 145F or 65C.
  • Taste test and add more salt if required. If using garam masala powder you can sprinkle now. If you want more lemony flavor, add more lemon juice while serving.
  • Lemon pepper fish is ready to serve with roasted veggies or rice, rasam or as appetizer with soup.


  1. If you marinate fish too long, the pieces will break and turn mushy.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Pepper Fish Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 243 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Trans Fat 0.04g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 76mg25%
Sodium 528mg23%
Potassium 490mg14%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 155IU3%
Vitamin C 32mg39%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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Nice recipe.Looks so yummy.

I have not yet tried but I think it is easy. One question what is meant for fennel seeds.Thanks!

I just love all yr recipies. All very easy and tasty lovely aroma. Now going to try yr fish recipie.

Which fish best suits this recipe???

ur chilli chicken recipie was just fab! ☺☺??