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.
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.
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.
2. Crush fennel and black pepper. We prefer a fine powder, you can use coarsely crushed powder.
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.
4. Add the fish and fry on a medium heat for 2 to 3 mins.
5. Turn them and fry on the other side as well for 2 to 3 mins.
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.
7. Turn them and repeat sprinkling the powder. Fry until the fish is roasted completely.
Serve lemon pepper fish as a side in a meal with onion wedges. If you want you may sprinkle more lemon juice.
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)
- 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.
- If you marinate fish too long, the pieces will break and turn mushy.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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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.
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