Home Style Surmai fry

 How to make Surmai(Seer) tawa fry King fish fry

Here is a simple guide to make surmai fry which is crisp and yummy the way most of us prefer to make at home.

Serving surmai tawa fry slices on a plate, with slices of onion and tomato

Surmai fry is a hugely popular fish recipe among the households of Maharashtra and its neighbouring states. A homemade surmai tawa fry with bhakri is something people always looking for. 

Home style recipe like bangda fry  and pomfret fry are among the other most sought after fish fry recipe along with surmai.

Surmai fry is delicious, yummy and extremely easy to make. And the best part of the recipe is that all the required ingredients are readily available at your pantry. You don't need to buy some special ingredients for this. If you are looking for such a surmai fry recipe then this is the perfect one for you. Here I bring you the step by step guide on how to make best surmai fry at home with details instructions and  a  short video for better understanding the recipe.

Before we jump into the recipe let us know some interesting facts and health benefits of surmai.

Surmai fish in English 

Surmai fish has different names in different parts of India. Surmai fish in English commonly known as "Kingfish" Indo - Pacific King Mackerel, or Seer fish is  very popular in the coastal areas. It can grow upto 45 kilogram in weight. 

The most expensive variety of sumai fish is sold in Tamil Nadu and in Tamil it is known as "Manjaram". In Goa as Iswan/Viswon while the seafood lover of our own Maharashtra call it as Surmai. Do you know that people in West Bengal also love this surmai fish very much and in Bengali they called it as সুরমাই মাছ" (Surmai Machh)

Surmai fish benefits 

There are so many health benefits of eating this fish.

  • Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which is essential for good heart health. Reduce cardiovascular diseases by lowering blood cholesterol levels.
  • High in protein make it ideal for muscle growth and repair. Surmai is a lean source of protein.
  • Vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex vitamins and minerals like selenium and iodine present in surmai fish are very important for overall health.
  • Low in Mercury levels in sumai makes it safer seafood compare to others.
  • Brain health is another benefits of this fish due to the present of Omega-3 fatty acids which can contribute to improve cognitive function.

What is surmai fry?

Surmai fry is a popular fish fry recipe where marinated surmai slices are shallow fried on tawa or pan till become crisp golden. Spice powder like chilli, coriander, garam masala, ginger garlic paste and lemon are used to marinate and coat the surmai slices.

This Surmai fry recipe has

✓  Garlic in the marination which gives  a  burnt garlic flavour

✓ Chopped curry leaves which gives an aromatic flavour

✓  Lemon juice 

Time taken to make

The total time taken to make the recipe is under 25 minutes which includes the preparation time of 15 minutes and cooking time of 10 minutes. Here I have excluded the marination time period which may vary from one hour to three hours.


Surmai fry recipe video

Basic ingredients needs

You need some basic ingredients to make the recipe which are easily available at your kichen.

  1. Surmai  slices : 10 to 12 medium size
  2. Ginger garlic paste
  3. Spice powder : like red chilli powder, coriander powder, kitchen king masala, turmeric powder.
  4. Lemon juice
  5. Chopped garlic and curry leaves
  6. Salt and cooking oil

Serving suggestions

Surmai fry goes well with bhakri and chapati or phulka. You can serve it along with your main meal like rice and other curry with roti and chapati.

What to do with leftover surmai fry?

The leftover surmai fry can be refrigerated for upto 24 hours after completely cooling down. Next day you can reheat or microwave them. I usually prefer to add them to make fish curry.

Steps to make the recipe

1. Wash and clean

Wash the slides for three to four times to remove any dirt present. Pat them dry completely. Make sure there is no water present otherwise it can dilute the masala paste.

Surmai fish slices

2. Making the masala paste

We need to make a thick masala paste to coat the surmai slices so that while frying them the masala remains coated with the fish. For that take one tablespoon ginger garlic paste in a mixing bowl. Then add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, one teaspoon red chilli powder, 1/3 teaspoon coriander powder, one teaspoon kitchen king powder, lemon juice, one tablespoon cooking oil, chopped garlic, chopped curry leaves and salt. 

Mix everything nicely to make the masala paste smooth. Don't add any water and if required add some oil to make it smooth.

Surmai fry masala paste in a mixing bowl

3. Marinating the fish

Now take a slice and coat some masala paste on both sides of the surmai. Make sure all parts are evenly coated with the masala. Keep a thick layer of masala over the slice. Similarly coat all the remaining fillets with the masala paste and let them refrigerated for atleast one hour to marinate and absorb the flavours. You can keep them marinated for longer time for 3 to 4 hours.

Marinated and coated surmai slices with masala paste

4. Frying the fish 

After the end of marination, keep them at room temperature for 10 minutes. Then heat a pan or tawa with two tablespoon cooking oil under medium heat flame gas fire. When the oil become hot lower the heat flame to low and carefully add the surmai slices one by one on the tawa. Don't overcrowded the pan with fish. Fry them in two batches.

Fry the slides for two to three minutes under medium low heat flame then flip to other side and fry further for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Tawa frying marinated surmai fish slices

Fry them for around 6 to 8 minutes by flipping from one side to another or till both sides become crisp golden. 

Crispy surmai fish slices frying on tawa

After that remove them on a absorbent paper to absorb any excess oil present on them and start to fry the next batch of surmai. 

Serve them hot along with your meal.

Alternative method ( deep frying)

Deep frying is suitable when frying large quantity of surmai. We usually prefer deep frying when there is a banquet event like wedding ceremony. If you want a crisp and crunchy texture then you can go with this method. 

Crispy surmai fry with rice flour and besan

Ingredients are same, additionally you need  corn flour or rice flour and gram flour (besan) to coat the fillets.

First take the surmai slices in a mixing bowl and add all the ingredients one by one except the cooking oil. Then add one tablespoon rice flour or corn flour and half tablespoon besan.

Coating surmai slices with rice flour, besan and spices

Now carefully start to mix everything. Sprinkle some water over the mixture to so that the masala paste become smooth and  nicely coat the slices. 

Marinated and coated surmai slices with besan, rice flour and spices

Cover and refrigerate for one hour to absorb the flavours. 

Heat adequate amount of cooking oil in a kadai or deep vessel pan over medium heat flame gas fire. When the oil become hot lower the heat flame to low and add the slides one by one.

Fry them for 3 to 4 minutes or till become crisp golden under medium low heat flame.

Deep frying surmai slices

Remove on a absorbent paper and serve hot. This is completely dry and can be serve as  surmai pakora with green chutney.

Frequently asked questions

1. How do you eat Surmai?

Surmai is a versatile fish and taste yummy in any form be it in curry or fried. You can have roti, chapati or bhakri with fried surmai. Plain steam rice or roti pair good with any surmai curry.

2. How is the taste of Surmai fish?

You won't get any fishy smell while eating. It get mixed with whatever flavor you mix with it. You get a fleshy taste chicken, little bit of chewy.

3. Is Surmai good for health?

Surmai fish is good for health as it is high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Low in fats and carbohydrate. 

4. Is Surmai a King fish?

Surmai is considered as a King fish of Indian Ocean. Also regarded as Indo - Pacific King Mackrel, which  is high in protein vitamins and minerals. 

Here are some more seafood recipe that I am sure you would love to make them....

Surmai fry

Serving surmai fish tawa fry on a plate with onion slices and tomato

Surmai tawa fry is a popular home made fish recipe marinated with spice powder and shallow fry on a tawa till become crisp. 

Prep time 15 min cook time 10 min serve 3

Author mobasir hassan


  • 10 medium size surmai slices
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon kitchen King powder or garam masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Lemon juice from one lemon wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or as per taste
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 curry leaves chopped
  • Cooking oil for frying
  1. Wash the surmai to remove any dirt present nicely. Pat them dry completely. You can use kitchen towel or absorbent paper for that.
  2. In a mixing bowl add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, kitchen king powder, lemon juice, one tablespoon cooking oil, chopped garlic, curry leaves and salt.
  3. Mix everything nicely to make a smooth paste. Taste the seasoning and if required and some more spices according to your taste.
  4. Now take a surmai slice and apply this masala paste on both sides. Make sure the fillet is nicely coated with the masala. Similarly apply the rest of the surmai fillets and refrigerated for one hour or more to absorb the flavours.
  5. After that heat two tablespoon oil in a pan or tawa over medium heat flame gas fire. When the oil become hot lower the heat flame to low and add the surmai one by one carefully on the pan 
  6. Fry them for two minutes over medium low heat flame then flip them to another side and fry further for two minutes.
  7. Fry them for 8 to 10 minutes or till they become crisp on both sides by flipping from one side to another.
  8. Remove and serve hot.
                               Nutritional value             
  • Calorie : 199
  • Fats :  8 g
  • Protein : 25 g
  • Carbohydrate : 3 g
                              Recipe notes
  • In place of kitchen king powder you can use garam masala powder. 
  • You can add some coconut powder or grated coconut in the masala paste.
More popular recipes to make at home are
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