Home made Fish Masala powder

Home made Fish Masala spice blend

This home made Fish Masala spice blend is perfect for your spicy fried masala fish, Cape Malay Pickled Fish and oven baked masala fish recipes.

It is far superior in freshness and flavor to the packaged fish fry masala powder spice mixes in supermarkets and is gluten free and without wheat or corn based fillers. Many store bought fish masala powders also include wheat flour and / or corn flour as an ingredient. These act as fillers as well as to keep it dry and prevent clumping.

The best thing about making your own fish masala powder at home or any spice blend for that matter, is that you can make it fresh in small batches and there are no chemical additives or colorants. This dry masala recipe includes red chili powder, turmeric, fragrant cloves, cinnamon, garlic and ginger.

In our home my mother made wet masalas from scratch but because of the amount of cooking and entertaining that she did she normally bought most of her dry spices in bulk. One of my dad’s cousins worked at a spice factory and I remember that she would buy the spices at the factory for my mum. Usually cumin, coriander, fennel and turmeric as well as a variety of spice blends for barbeque chicken or meat.

Whole spices for roasting

I realized when I was planning to make this Cape Malay Pickled Fish recipe that the ingredients on the brand of masala for pickled fish that I brought with me from Cape Town was very vague. I had no idea what was in it aside from the occasional cumin seed and bay leaves.

I then bought a packet of fish fry masala powder for marinating the fish at the shop downstairs in my apartment building, and reading some of the ingredients made me queasy. It seemed that some of the ingredients were added specifically to preserve and extend the shelf life of the product.

Even though I did not know how to make a fish masala powder recipe, I decided at that moment that I would make my own small batch home made fish masala spice blend from scratch. That way I could control what went into it and it will be easier to replicate the flavor, wherever I am in the world. I used this masala for the pickled fish and it is also suitable for the Baked Salmon steak and spinach salad.

The ingredients for the fish masala powder recipe are all in your store cupboard. Red chili and turmeric is this dry rub for fish give it a warm color and the cinnamon, garlic and ginger add warmth to the flavor.

Powdered spices and roasted whole spices

How to make Fish Masala powder

Homemade masala spice blends are fragrant and a delight to the senses as long as you ensure the following:

  • Make small batches of homemade fish masala powder if you don’t use it frequently, so that there are no leftovers that will go stale after a few weeks.
  • Use fresh whole spices.
  • Use pure fresh powdered spices. Use a clean dry pan to dry roast the whole spices.
  • Remove the pan from the heat when you see the first wisps of smoke at about 2-3 minutes and stir off the heat in the pan to continue frying the spices for another minute or two.
  • Allow the roasted spices to cool before grinding or milling
  • Mix together the ground and powdered spices.
  • Store in a clean dry spice jar.

Home made Fish Masala spice blend

Home made Fish Masala spice blend

Home made Fish Masala spice blend

Razena Schroeder
This small batch home made Fish Masala spice blend is pure, fragrant and contains no additives or fillers and is enough for 750 grams of fish.
4.74 from 19 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Spices
Cuisine Cape Malay
Servings 12
Calories 14 kcal


Whole spices

  • 15 ml coriander seeds approximately 1 level tablespoon
  • 5 ml fennel seeds approximately 1 level teaspoon
  • 5 ml cumin seeds approximately 1 level teaspoon
  • 5 ml black peppercorns approximately 1 level teaspoon
  • 4 cloves

Powdered spices

  • 15 ml red chili powder approximately 1 level tablespoon
  • 2.5 ml garlic powder approximately 1/2 level teaspoon
  • 2.5 ml ginger powder approximately 1/2 level teaspoon
  • 2.5 ml cinnamon powder approximately 1/2 level teaspoon
  • 2.5 ml turmeric powder approximately 1/2 level teaspoon


Dry roasting whole spices

  • Add the coriander, fennel, cumin, black peppercorns and cloves to a small pan dry clean pan and dry roast on medium heat until it smells fragrant.
  • Remove from the heat when you see the first wisps of smoke at about 2-3 minutes and continue to stir it off the heat in the pan to continue frying the spices.
  • Let the roasted whole spices cool before grinding.

Spice mix

  • If using a pestle and mortar, grind the spices until it is a fine powder, or as fine as you can.
  • If using an electric spice grinder, pulse the spices until it is a fine powder. Try not to let the motor run for so long that the spices start to heat up, as it ruins the flavor.
  • Add the chili powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, cinnamon powder and turmeric powder to a bowl and mix in the freshly ground spices.
  • Use immediately or decant into a container with an airtight lid and store until required.


Use a clean dry pan to dry roast the spices.


Serving: 5gCalories: 14kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 0gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 22mgPotassium: 75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0gVitamin A: 580IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword easy spice blend, gluten free, halaal recipes, make-ahead
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Home made Fish Masala spice blend pin

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  • Reply
    January 28, 2020 at 11:11 am

    I absolutely loved this recipe. Made baked fish for guests and want to try shallow frying tonight. Any tips on that please

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2020 at 11:29 am

      You can follow the method in the Cape Malay Pickled Fish recipe for frying the masala fish.
      – Place a sheet of foil or parchment on a baking tray and arrange the fish pieces skin side up then sprinkle over half the salt and fish masala spice.
      – Flip the fish pieces over and sprinkle the other side with the remaining salt and fish masala.
      – Cover the fish with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to fry.
      – Heat a frying pan on medium-high and add enough oil to cover the base.
      – Fry the fish on both sides until cooked through.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2018 at 3:12 am

    This is such an interesting information. I might give it a try at home, as I love to spice up my food. Sending positive vibes your way! 🙂

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 17, 2018 at 8:48 pm

      If you like it more spicy just add a bit more chili powder. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 7, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Fish curry is my favorite ..I normally use store bought spices but your recipe is just awesome.. definitely gonna try at home..

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 17, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      After I started making my own spice mixes and other pantry items that I used to buy I can’t bring myself to buy them any more. You will know what I mean once you smell the toasted spices and taste the vibrant flavor it gives the food.

      • Reply
        September 17, 2018 at 10:52 pm

        I totally agree! Fresh homemade spices tastes far better than the store bought…

  • Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    One of my favourite dishes and so easy to make! Thank you for adding the recipe and nutrition facts. Will definitely try at home. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 6:57 am

    This spice blend looks amazing. I’ll definitely be trying this soon. Some of these spices I have and some I would love to start using! Beautiful pictures too.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 17, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      Thank you Kathryn. I was concerned that the spice would look flat and dull but am quite pleased with how the photos turned out. I was alway so hesitant to make my own spice mixes but I realized that I had all the whole and powdered spices anyway, and it was just a matter of finding the right combination and amounts.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 1:15 am

    The spice mix sounds amazing. I love the use of fennel it sure adds some extra kick.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    I believe that spices are the key to a successful kitchen! and the culinary world is your oyster. It is like your own branding. I agree with you saying that it is better to have your own version of fish masala spices rather than buying the pre made version from the grocery. I’m interested lately in doing my own spices at home. Glad I came across with your post.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      I’m so happy to have found a kindred spirit of spice blends 🙂 Unfortunately they seem to add so much other stuff to packaged spice blends that I have taken to making my own in small batches when I need it. They also taste so much better than something that has been languishing on a shelf for months.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Ginger does add an undeniable warmth. I love a good spice blend.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      My aunt told me two rules for cooking proteins when I was a teenager and her words came to mind when I was making this recipe.
      1. Add more garlic to chicken and meat.
      2. Add more ginger to fish and seafood.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Beautiful images I can’t ignore them. Thanks for sharing the homemade fish masala ingredients. Just few days ago I used one from National brand. However why we should buy this if we can make one at home by all the ingredients we have already? Nice article

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Exactly! And all the ingredients we already have in the home too!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2018 at 7:46 am

    I so love seafood dishes,speacially the fish dish! This articles ingedient is mouth watering, I can’t wait to make one.

  • Reply
    Monidipa Dutta
    September 3, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    I always love to do experiments with spices. I would definitely try this fish masala. Thanks for sharing.!!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      It seems like if you buy 10 different brands of fish masala they will all taste and look different when cooked. This way I can make enough for one or two uses and it will always taste the same.

  • Reply
    serin quinn
    September 3, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Such a great recipe, and I really love the photos! I’ll definitely give it a go next time!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      Thank you for the kind words… it took me forever to finally photograph the recipe and I am really pleased that you liked the end result.

  • Reply
    Dr. K. Lee Banks
    September 3, 2018 at 2:39 am

    This looks like a great recipe for fish dishes. I’m always looking for new spice combos to use for different types of food. I might just leave out the chili powder, so it would be less spicy.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      The chili powder gives heat as well as color but if you prefer less spicy then you can replace the chili powder with paprika which will be milder.

  • Reply
    Ashley K
    September 3, 2018 at 1:33 am

    This spice blend sounds like it would really complement fish well. I have never really been big on seafood, but I’ll have to give this a try. It just might convince me to have fish more often.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      I actually prefer shrimps and lobster to fish but this spice mix makes any kind of seafood taste amazing 🙂

  • Reply
    September 2, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    nice information, I will make it at home

  • 4.74 from 19 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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