The Best Surmai (Kingfish) Recipe

The Best Surmai (Kingfish) Recipe

I love Surmai fish! Fried, baked or made into a curry or any other way I just love it! Even if you are a novice cook, you just cannot go wrong when making this fish which is also known as Kingfish or Mackerel. Just two things to remember when cooking this awesome fish in a seafood recipe – Don’t over spice it and don’t overcook it!

Been born and brought up in Kolkata, a city whose people are crazily in love with seafood, identifying fresh fish comes to me naturally. For those who love fish but do not know the nuances of picking out a fresh fish, here are some pointers for you (no I’m not going to say to check the fish’s gills) –

  • the fish’s eyes should be clear and bright.
  • fishy fish is not such a fresh fish so avoid (don’t feel bad to hold a fish to your nose and sniff it! These vendors charge a bomb for fish nowadays!).
  • the touch test – poke the fish with your finger, if the poked part springs back after the touch, the fish is fresh. If the poked part results in an indentation, the fish is stale. 
  • beware of any fish being sold at an absurdly low price, especially in Kolkata. This would mean that the fish is super stale and the vendor is looking for a gullible customer to fool! 

Today’s fish recipe is my wife’s creation and I doubt if you’ll actually get this surmai recipe on any other blog! It’s a simple Kingfish recipe made with brinjal or eggplant in a spicy and slightly tangy gravy.

The Best Surmai (Kingfish) Recipe
A Sautéed and Baked Exclusive Recipe!
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
  • Kingfish - 500 Grams, Chopped into Bite-Sized Pieces bones and all
  • Brinjal or Eggplant - 1 Medium Size, Chopped into Bite-Sized Pieces
  • Tomatoes - 2 Medium, Chopped
  • Onion - 1 Medium, Chopped
  • Ginger and Garlic Paste - 2 Teaspoons
  • Cumin Powder - ¼th Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder - ½ Teaspoon
  • Paanch Phoron Powder (Nigella Seeds, Yellow Mustard Seeds Fenugreek Seeds, Fennel Seeds) - ½ Teaspoon
  • Garlic Pods - 8 to 10 Whole and Peeled
  • Turmeric Powder - 1 and ½ Teaspoon
  • Chilli Powder - ½ Teaspoon
  • Salt - To Taste
  • Sugar - ¼th Teaspoon
  • Vinegar - 1 Tablespoon
  • Mustard Oil - For Deep-frying and Cooking
  • Water - ½ Cup
  1. Marinate the Kingfish with some Salt, Chili Powder, and Turmeric Powder.
  2. Deep fry till crispy in Mustard Oil.
  3. Sprinkle Salt, Turmeric Powder, and Chilli Powder over Brinjal Pieces and fry till half-cooked in the same oil in which the fish was fried.
  4. Leave about 2 Tablespoons of Oil in the kadhai and add the chopped Onions. Suaté till translucent.
  5. Keep the heat on medium-low right throughout the cooking process.
  6. Add Chopped Tomatoes and sauté till half-cooked.
  7. Add Ginger and Garlic paste and sauté till oil separates.
  8. Add powdered spices and stir.
  9. Add only ¼th Teaspoon of Turmeric Powder and stir.
  10. Add a bit of water for all the spices to come together and cook completely. This dish does not have a watery gravy but a dryish gravy. See the pictures for exact gravy consistency.
  11. Add Salt to taste and Sugar.
  12. Add the Whole Garlic Pods and stir.
  13. Once done, add the Fried Fish Pieces and stir well.
  14. Next, add the fried Brinjal pieces and stir very gently so as to not break up the brinjal pieces.
  15. Add Vinegar and stir gently. Cook for a minute more and remove from heat.
  16. Enjoy with steamed rice or parathas.

Now if your dish looks like this good job!

Best Surmai Recipe

So this really and truly was a simple recipe and is in no way short on flavor. In fact, it is so packed with flavor you and your entire family are going to love it and make it over and over again!

If you thought I was bonkers when I told you to fry the fish with its bones and all, I definitely am still completely sane and there is a method to my madness! When frying the fish pieces to crisp, the bones to will fry up nice and crisp and add a lovely texture to your dish!

Do let me know how this recipe turns out for you! I’d love to hear from you and get back to your comments as soon as possible.

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