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Whole Grilled Fish Recipe

Whole Grilled Fish Recipe

Whole Grilled Fish Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Pakistani
Servings 4


  • 1 Whole Fish
  • 3 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Tandoori Masala (optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil


Fish Wash Method:

  • First, make sure your fish is de-scaled and gutted and the gills removed. Also, trim the fins on the sides of the head. You can trim the tail a little bit if it is too big. Wash the fish thoroughly with water mixed with a bit of salt and vinegar or lemon. You can even immerse the fish in this salty vinegar/lemon water for about half an hour, it reduces any fishy smell. Drain and pat the fish dry. Make 2-3 slits on the fleshy part of the fish, on both sides at 2-3 inch intervals. This helps make sure your fish will get cooked properly all the way through.

Fish Marination:

  • Mix the salt, chilli powder, garlic, turmeric, cumin, tandoori and lemon juice to form a paste. Slather this marinade on both sides of the fish, making sure the marinade goes all the way into the flesh through the slits.
  • Rub the marinade inside the fish. Set the fish to marinate for about an hour which will allow the flavours to infuse into the fish.
  • Turn the grill on high. If you’re using an oven, have it at 220 C. You can also use a charcoal grill for this. Whilst the bbq grill or oven is pre-heating, brush the 2 tbsp of oil on both sides of the fish, making sure a thin layer of oil covers every part of the fish. This will prevent the fish from sticking to the grill and also will help it to achieve a good color during grilling.
  • Once the bbq grill is ready, wipe oil on it using a kitchen towel, then place the fish on it.
  • If you’re baking in the oven, use the grill-like tray for this, brush it with oil and make sure to place something under it to catch the drippings that will fall as the fish bakes.
  • Give the fish 12-15 minutes, then gently slide a spatula under the fish and pry it loose if it is stuck. Be very gentle as fish has a tendency to stick to the grill, so do this patiently and gently.
  • Then, using two spatulas, slowly turn the fish over and bake/grill again for another 12-15 minutes. Rule of thumb when grilling fish is it takes 10 minutes per inch of thickness overall. So if the fish is 2 inches thick, it will take a total of 20 minutes (10 per side). If it is thicker than 2 inches, adjust the time accordingly.
  • When done, remove the fish and again gently pry it off the grill and place on your serving platter.
  • Garnish with slices of lemon or lime and potatoes, tomatoes, whatever you like. Tastes great with roast potatoes or gravy potatoes.
  • Enjoy!

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