Crispy Fish bites (Paleo, Gluten free)

 I recently started eating Flounder and I love its delicate flavor and its soft, flaky texture.  Since it doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, it can easily take in the flavor of the marinade the you cook it in. So I have been experimenting cooking it with different spices. It tastes great just pan fried by marinating it lightly with cayenne pepper, salt and turmeric.  A few weeks ago I decided to make these the same way as the ‘Crispy Chicken Bites’ I make with Indian and Asian flavors. Lots of ginger and garlic, along with cayenne and soy sauce (or coconut aminos). Lightly coated with tapioca starch and pan fried to get crispy, spicy fish nuggets!

So glad I decided to experiment – these crispy fish bites are so tasty! They can be perfect as an appetizer or pair it with a salad like I do for a complete meal. My family also loves to just eat it along side our Indian traditional meal of Rice and Dal.

Crispy Fish bites (Paleo, Gluten free)
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Cuisine: Fusion, IndoChinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
Fish filets marinated with the flavors of ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper and coated with tapioca starch and fried to get crispy fish nuggets
  • 1 lb Fish filets, cut into bite size pieces (Use Flounder or any other white fish)
For marinade:
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder or cayenne pepper( skip for AIP version)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger and garlic paste (made by crushing equal quantities of fresh ginger and garlic without any water in a mortar pestle or a food processor)
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos or soy sauce (use coconut aminos for paleo)
  • About 3-4 tbsp coconut oil for shallow frying
  1. In a large bowl, add the fish pieces and blot dry using paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all marinade ingredients and stir using a spoon to form a thick paste.
  3. Add this paste to the bowl with the fish pieces. Mix gently using your hands to coat the fish pieces completely.
  4. Add about 1 tbsp oil at a time in a small frying pan and shallow fry the fish pieces in batches until they are cooked well and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
For AIP version, skip cayenne pepper


Coconut Calamari (Paleo)

OK so ever since I made those beef cutlets with a coconut crust, I have been thinking of using that technique to make other crispy coatings! I got my chance to try it again when hubby picked up squid last weekend while picking up seafood.

I usually cook squid(calamari) Kerala Style which is to sauté it with onion and red chillies and with coconut. I have posted that recipe before. Have also tried frying it using chickpea batter which is a great gluten free alternative. However now since I am on a paleo diet, chickpea batter wouldn’t do and so I thought why not give my tapioca flour batter and coconut crust technique a try?  The ‘paleo version’ of the beef cutlets was very well received in my house. It tasted even better than the breaded version!

So considering that I was pretty confident that the fried calamari with coconut crust would work. And I wasn’t disappointed!  The fried coconut calamari came out so nice and crispy plus the shredded coconut topping imparted such great flavor.  I also ended up shallow frying it using coconut oil vs deep frying. It still came out nice and crispy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. Perfecto 🙂

I added a bit of cayenne pepper (Kashmiri red chili powder) but you can skip that for an AIP compliant recipe.

Coconut Calamari (Paleo)
Recipe type: Appetizer, main course, seafood
Cuisine: American, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
A Paleo version of the 'Fried Calamari' - Crispy coconut crusted Calamari fried in coconut oil!
  • ½ lb squid, cleaned and cut into ¼ inch rounds
  • ¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (skip for AIP version)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
For the crust
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (I used 'Let's do Organic' brand)
For frying
  • About 2 tbsp coconut oil
  1. In a small bowl, add the cleaned calamari and dab dry with paper towels. Add the chills powder(if adding) and salt and mix well. Keep aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the tapioca flour with water to from a slurry. (This settles down very fast so again stir before using)
  3. Place the shredded coconut in a separate plate.
  4. Heat a small frying pan and add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Keep on medium heat and when hot, dip the squid pieces one by one in the tapioca slurry and then dip them in the coconut to coat completely and drop these one by one into the frying pan. Fry these in batches and serve hot!
For AIP version, skip the red chili powder

Spicy Masala Salmon (Chettinad Style Fish Fry)

Chettinad Fish FryPan Fried Masala SalmonFish Fry is as important to a Keralite as water is to fish. I apologize if I have said this before in my posts but this is so true!  Rice, Daal with a side of spicy pan fried fish was a very common fare growing up and thankfully due to my ‘fish’loving’ husband, it is quite common in our kitchen too! But Mr is very particular about how he likes his fish fry and he likes to keep it simple – just some salt,turmeric and red chili powder for the marinade and then the pan frying also has to be perfect – on low heat to yield perfectly cooked on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside!  And as you can guess, I readily outsourced this process a.k.a ritual to him very early on after our marriage. Hey why mess with the expert 🙂

I just realized that I never posted this simple recipe here before. I did recently do a video of  it as one of our friends was asking us about it.  Here is the link to that – Simple Fish Fry:


Anyways sorry I’s post is about me trying something new with fish fry. Yes it was a risk I took ! What if hubby didn’t like it? But since these days I am eating lots of fish being on a paleo diet, I wanted to try something new.  I recently was browsing Chettinad style chicken recipes on youtube when I also came across chettinad style fish fry. I was instantly motivated to try this since the flavors of fennel and ginger -garlic in the marinade sounded wonderful!

I tried this recipe with Salmon although you can use any other fish too. In fact it turned out very good and I am going to try it with cod fish next! I also think I will try baking the fish next time to get the full flavor of this masala.  I absolutely love this marinade masala and I have plans to use them in many other dishes in the future – loads of possibilities:)

Spicy Masala Salmon (Chettinad Style Fish Fry)

  • Servings: Serves 4-6 served with rice/salad
  • Time: about 30 mins excluding marination time
  • Difficulty: Easy
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6 -8 pieces of Salmon filet or any other fish (about 1 1/2 lbs of fish), cleaned, scales removed

For the marinade:

  • 6-8 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 of a small red onion or 2-3 pearl onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder (1 for mild hot and 2 for hot)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water

2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil for pan frying

3-4 fresh curry leaves


Pat dry the fish pieces with paper towels and place in a plate/tray.

In a small heating pan, add the whole peppercorns, cumin and fennel and lightly roast them on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes until you get the aroma of the spices. Turn heat off and transfer spices to a blender/food processor. To the same blender, add the rest of the marinade ingredients and blend till you get a smooth paste. Transfer paste to a bowl.

Coat each fish on both sides with the thick marinade paste and place back on plate. Finish coating all pieces this way.  (You can freeze or refrigerate any remaining paste).  Let fish marinate for 15- 30 minutes.

For pan frying, heat a large non stick frying pan adding the oil.  When hot, add the curry leaves and fry them for a minute.  Take them out and keep aside for garnishing.  To the hot oil, add the fish pieces and cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes. Make sure you cook the fish on medium heat (not very high) – you don’t need to cover the pan.

Transfer to a plate. Serve with sliced onions and lemon and the fried curry leaves!

Spicy Masala salmon


Pan Fried Masala Salmon


Kerala Red Fish Curry (Meenu Mulakittathu)

Red Fish curryFish curry is as essential to a Malayalee as water is to fish 🙂  I have already posted the typical Kerala fish curry that is cooked most often in our home. That curry uses coconut milk and kodampuli (a variety of kokum that is indigenous to Kerala).  The version I am posting today is the version without coconut milk. This type of curry is unique to the North of Kerala and is usually made very hot and spicy.  This curry is used commonly for fish like King Mackerel(Nayee Meenu) or shark fish(Sraav).

kerala style fish curry without coconutMy dad and a lot of the folks of the older generation would devour this curry by making balls of the cooked rice and dipping them in the sauce! Of late I have been making this version for myself since I am on a low fat diet and need to avoid coconut milk.  And considering my current limitations in the kitchen, I have really simplified this recipe – so I apologize in advance if this is not an exact authentic recipe. This is my version of the traditional ‘Meenu Mulakittathu or ‘Fish cooked with red chillies’ Either way, folks, this curry is hot and spicy and pure ‘dynamite’ and is sure to stir things up for you:) Since this curry is really ‘red’ without the coconut milk to tame the color and the spice down, I named it the ‘Red Fish curry’ 🙂

Kerala Red Fish Curry without coconut milk(Meenu Mulakittathu)

  • Servings: Serves 4-6 with rice
  • Time: about 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 8-10 pieces of fish – King Mackerel(Surma) or Shark (Sraav)or any other similar fish

For ground masala paste

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi or ‘uluva’)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder (add more for extra hot)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water (for grinding masala) plus 1 cup water
  • 2 -3 pieces of kodapuli soaked in 1/2 cup water (or you can use tamarind extract 1 tbsp )
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 pearl onions or 1/4 of a small red onion, chopped fine
  • 4-5 fresh curry leaves


In a cooking pot (preferably an earthen pot), add the cleaned pieces of fish.

Grind the ingredients under ‘Masala paste’ in a food processor using 1/2 cup water to get thick paste. Add this to the pot with the fish. Add additional 1 cup water to the pot. Add the salt and the kodapuli pieces (or the tamarind pulp) and place pot on heat.  when the curry begins to boil, turn heat to low and cover cooked on low flame for about 15-20 minutes swirling the pan occasionally to prevent fish from sticking to the pot.

Now open lid and simmer on low for another 5 minutes or so until you get sauce/curry of desired consistency. Turn heat off.

In a separate small heating or tadka pan, heat the coconut oil. Add the chopped onion and saute till golden brown. Add fresh curry leaves. Turn heat off. Pour this oil mixture over the fish in the pot.  Serve fish curry with cooked white rice.

Meenu mulakkitathu


Salmon in spicy mustard sauce (Bengali Style Fish Curry)

Bengali style Salmon(Baked)When it comes to eating fish, I don’t think any other state in India can beat the Bongs (bengalis) or the Mallus (Keralites) 🙂 I am so relieved that my naturopath has asked me to continue eating fish as it is beneficial for me. So be prepared for a deluge of fish recipes! Nothing can stop this fish eating mallu now Ha Ha 🙂

Over the past few weeks I have made some variations of the traditional Kerala fish curry, which I will post soon. But today’s post is on the Bengali fish curry where mustard is the star. My friend Samita suggested this recipe to me recently one evening amidst all of us ladies bantering as usual at a recent gathering at her place. Samita, cooks up lovely lip-smacking dishes in a jiffy in her easygoing, carefree manner. She is not the one to fuss over recipes. Nor is she the one to note down exact recipes. And so what she told me went something like this – ‘Indu, why don’t you try making it Bengali style – just make a paste of mustard and green chillies and mix it with the salmon(elaborate hand gesture here showing how the paste is to be applied) and bake it. Mast hoga re! ‘

After that description from Samita how could I not give it a try! Plus it looked too easy! I checked out some online recipes for bengali curry and some of them used tomatoes which my diet does not permit. So in the end I really did what Samita had suggested. It came out wonderful and so tasty. Thank you Samita!

After that I have made it a couple more times now and I additionally strain the paste to get a fine texture for the curry plus it takes away the very pungent mustard taste.  I have also made it over the stove top. And this is one curry that I am sure has come to stay in my kitchen. And you know the best thing about this curry? – it is so darned easy to make!


Linking to Throwback Thursday this week. Also linking to Fiesta Friday.

Salmon in mustard sauce (Bengali Style Fish Curry)

  • Servings: makes 4 servings when served with rice
  • Time: About 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


6-8 Salmon pieces (boned-in and with skin preferred), about 1 inch thick
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 tsp mustard seeds(I used brown mustard only but you can use mix of brown and yellow)
4 green chillies
3/4 tsp red chilli pow
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water plus 1 cup more water

For tadka(oil garnish)
2 tsp olive oil(or mustard oil)
1/2 trp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp kala jeera (nigella seeds)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds


If using Stovetop:

Rub the salmon pieces with the salt and turmeric. Keep aside.

In a food processor, blend mustard seeds, green chillies, turmeric, red chili pow and salt with  1/2 cup water to form a smooth paste. Add the rest of the water and blend again. Strain this mixture using a strainer and keep aside.

Take a medium size wide bottomed cooking pot and add the oil (under tadka). heat the oil and add the tadka ingredients. Let cook for about 30 seconds until the seeds pop. Add the salmon pieces to the oil and lightly fry for about 2-3 minutes on side.  Make sure the fish does not stick to the bottom of the pan (Do not Flip them before 2 minutes).

Add the strained mustard mixture to the fish now. Cover and let cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Cook uncovered for last few minutes until you get curry of desired consistency.

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves! Serve with some cooked plain rice.

If using oven:

Rub the salmon pieces with the salt and turmeric. Take an oven proof baking dish and place the salmon in it in a single layer.

In a food processor, blend mustard seeds, green chillies, turmeric, red chili pow and salt with  1/2 cup water to form a smooth paste. Add the rest of the water and blend again.

Strain this mixture and pour over the fish.

Bake at 400 deg F (200 deg C) for 20 mins. (Covered for first 15 minutes and then uncovered for last 5 minutes)

In a tadka pan, heat the oil and add the tadka ingredients. Let cook for about 30 seconds until the seeds pop. Pour this garnished oil over the baked fish.
Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with some cooked plain rice.

Bengali style Salmon(Baked)