Surmai Tawa Masala | Mangalorean Anjal Tawa Fry

Surmai Tawa Masala

Surmai Tawa masala – Kingfish coated with spicy, aromatic masala and shallow fried using coconut oil.

Mangalorean cuisine is famous for its staple non-vegetarian preparation such as Kori rotti, Chicken Sukka, Clams Sukka, Fish pulimunchi and so on. Surmai Tawa masala or Anjal (Tulu word for Surmai) Tawa Fry is another loved dish of Mangalorean cuisine. The fish is coated with a fiery red masala paste and is cooked on a hot griddle. . Surmai tawa fry is a perfect accompaniment with simple dal rice but is delicious enough to feature on any party menu. So here is the recipe for Surmai Tawa Masala or Anjal Tawa Fry.


4 pieces of King fish (Surmai/ Anjal)

For marination

Salt as per taste (namak)
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (adrak lehsun paste)

For the masala paste

7 dry red chillies (byadgi chillies) (sookhi laal mirch)
1 tbsp coriander seeds (dhaniya)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
½ tsp black peppercorns (kali mirch)
1 small onion, chopped (pyaaz)
6 to 7 cloves of garlic (lehsun)
a cherry sized ball of tamarind (imli)
salt (namak)

Other ingredients

2 tbsp + ½ tsp  virgin coconut oil (nariyal tel)
few curry leaves (kadi patta)
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (hara dhaniya) for garnishing

Surmai tawa masala


  • Wash the slices of fish and marinate with salt, turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste.
  • Refrigerate for 3o to 45 minutes.
  • In the meantime, to prepare the masala paste, heat ½ tsp oil in a pan.
  • Add red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, methi seeds and peppercorns.
  • Roast the spices till they turn aromatic and crisp.
  • Allow the roasted spices to cool down.
  • Transfer to a mixer jar.
  • Add chopped onion, garlic, tamarind, salt and ¼ cup of water. Blend to a fine paste. Keep this aside.  
  • Next, heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan.
  • Add the masala paste.
  • Saute on low flame.
  • Add curry leaves and mix well.  
  • Saute till the masala is cooked well and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
  • This may take around 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Now, add the marinated fish slices.
  • Coat the fish slices with masala paste.
  • Cook the fish on both sides.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve Surmai Tawa masala  with onion rings and lemon wedges.