That Spicy Chick

Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon

This Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon is quick and easy to make, spicy, and ridiculously tasty! It’s loaded with flavor, and great for weeknight dinners and meal prep!

Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon garnished with chopped coriander on top of red onion rings on a long white serving plate with cumber slices and lemon wedges.

I am currently OBSESSED with all things salmon. And I am not ashamed of it.

When I first moved to Hong Kong from Taipei back in 2015, I stopped eating fish at home. The reason was because good quality (and sustainably harvested fish) fresh fish came with a hefty price tag here. So sadly, I resorted to only having fish when dining out at restaurants. I occasionally made canned or smoked fish meals at home (i.e. tuna sandwiches, smoked salmon bagels, etc.). But there definitely was a void in my life during those years because I love fish…especially salmon. ❤️

This past year, I did some digging around the city and FINALLY found some brilliant, reasonably priced, and tasty frozen Atlantic salmon fillets from Norway. Since then, I’ve been enjoying having salmon again (I found good cod too…but that’s for another day!) – one of my favorite-est fish at home – and loving it! 🤗

One of the recent recipes I created with these salmon fillets is this Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon, and it is AWESOME (all caps ‘awesome’ people, so I mean it’s really G-O-O-D).

A fork with a bite of spicy Indian salmon and fillet garnished with coriander in a bowl of rice with cucumber slices, red onion, and a lemon wedge.

I mean, it’s got everything right going for it because it’s:

  • Simple and easy to make on any given weeknight.
  • Great for meal prep.
  • Tastes delicious with rice, cucumber, and red onion slices!
  • Very versatile because you can serve it in multiple ways (think flaked in a salad bowl with a cooling cucumber and mint yogurt dip/dressing, in Spicy Indian Salmon Tacos, or cut it up into bite-sized pieces and toss it with pasta in a lovely butter and herb sauce!)
  • Spicy and slightly tangy, and will tingle your taste buds with ALL of it’s amazing flavors!
  • So incredibly good for you! Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fats, which aid in reducing inflammation and boost heart and brain health. And you need to get your omega 3s from somewhere because our bodies can’t naturally produce omega-3 fats.
  • Bonus: It’s also naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, so everyone at your table will be happy!

Ready to have this Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon enter and change your life?

Indian-spiced pan-fried salmon fillets garnished with chopped coriander on top of red onion rings on a plate with a lemon wedge and cucumber slices.

SPICY INDIAN PAN-FRIED SALMON INGREDIENTS

To make this Indian-spiced pan-fried salmon, you’ll need..

  • Salmon Fillets: Boneless and with the skin on. Don’t worry if you’re not into eating the skin. You’ll be able to easily remove it after cooking, or simply eat around it. But I highly recommend leaving it on during the cooking process because it will make your salmon more flavorful and also prevent the fish flesh from burning or becoming too dry. You’ll need four fillets – mine were about 120 grams each.
  • Kosher Salt: I use coarse kosher salt, but you can substitute with table salt and just use half the recommended amount.
  • Black Pepper: Freshly cracked will be much better than the coarse ground stuff you get in bottles. But in a pinch, bottled coarse ground pepper will work too.
  • Ginger Garlic Paste: This comes in small jars and is available at Indian grocery stores, as well as some mainstream large supermarkets. If using separate bottles of ginger paste and garlic paste, use one tablespoon of each. Alternatively, you can make your own ginger garlic paste by blending equal amounts of both with a bit of oil in a mini blender. Or you can finely chop fresh ginger and garlic too, or smash roughly chopped pieces of both in mortar and pestle.
  • Garam Masala: Store-bought is fine, but I highly recommend using homemade garam masala for best flavor and taste. Check out my easy recipe to make your own.
  • Ground Cumin
  • Coriander Powder
  • Turmeric Powder
  • Ground Cayenne: To taste. Feel free to omit this if you want to make this mild.
  • Chili Powder: Ditto the above. I used Mexican Hot Chili Powder, but Kashmiri or regular chili powder is good too.
  • Tandoori color powder: To give the fillets a nice and vibrant reddish-orange color. You can use a drop of red food coloring if you like instead. Or leave it out completely since it is only for color and will not affect the taste.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed please, as always.
  • Water: Just a little bit, and to help form a paste-like texture for the marinade.
  • To Serve (optional): Cucumber slices, lemon wedges, sliced red onion, chopped coriander (for garnish), a side salad, steamed rice, etc.
Four raw cleaned salmon fillets on a round plate.

HOW TO MAKE SPICY INDIAN PAN-FRIED SALMON

To make this Spicy Indian Pan-Fried Salmon, all you need to do is…

Clean the salmon fillets: Remove them from the packaging they came in and gently wipe with paper towels to dry them.

Make the marinade: Combine the salt, freshly cracked black pepper, ginger garlic paste, garam masala, ground cumin, coriander powder, turmeric powder, ground cayenne, chili powder, tandoori color powder, lemon juice, and water in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon to evenly combine.

Marinate the salmon: Add the salmon fillets to the marinade bowl and use a spoon to spread and evenly coat the spice mixture on all sides of the fillets. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes at least, or overnight in the fridge for more flavor.

Salmon fillets coated with orange-red spiced paste-like marinade in a large mixing bowl.

If refrigerating overnight, remove the salmon fillets bowl from the fridge 40-60 minutes in advance before cooking so that they can come to room temperature. (Note: You can skip this step if marinating for less than an hour.)

Cook the salmon: Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lift the salmon fillets from the marinade bowl and allow any excess marinade to drip off. Once the oil is hot, place the salmon fillets skin side down in the skillet and pan-fry for 3-4 minutes. Then turn over the fillets using a fish spatula and pan-fry the front for 3-4 minutes.

Four salmon fillets coated in an orange-red spicy paste marinade pan-frying skin side down in a large nonstick skillet on the stovetop.

(You may notice the marinade blackening on the skin side, but don’t worry. The “burnt” bits will infuse the salmon with a charred and grilled flavor and can be scraped off after cooking as needed.) Use tongs or the fish spatula to turn and crisp up the sides of the fillets – about 15-20 seconds for each side. Once the salmon fillets have cooked through, transfer the fillets to a clean plate and scrape off any burnt bits if needed. (Note: Use a sharp knife to check the doneness of the flesh, or a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature has reached 145°F/62.8°C. Insert the knife or thermometer in the thickest part of the fillet. The flesh should be opaque and flake easily.)

Serve!: Place the fillets on a plate lined with red onion slices, cucumber slices, and lemon wedges for squeezing if desired. Garnish with chopped coriander and enjoy with steamed rice and a side salad!

Indian-spiced pan-fried salmon fillets garnished with chopped coriander on top of red onion rings on a plate with a lemon wedge and cucumber slices.

Full ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN THE SALMON IS COOKED?

The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets. The FDA recommends cooking salmon until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F/63°C. I personally enjoy it at this temperature too. However, many people enjoy salmon when it’s cooked to medium – about 125-135°F (52-57°C). It is indeed flakier and more moist at this temperature. So feel free to cook it a couple of degrees under the FDA recommended temperature if that is your preference and at your own discretion.

I highly recommend investing in a food thermometer if you want to make sure your salmon (or any other meat or fish you cook) is safe to eat. I’ve tried several over the last couple of years and am finally happy with one that works flawlessly – Thermapen Mk4 by ThermoWorks. It’s quick to get an accurate reading with it, so do check it out if you are in the market for a new instant read thermometer.

Indian spicy salmon fillet garnished with chopped coriander on top of red onion rings in a bowl with rice, cucumber slices, and a lemon wedge.

CAN I BAKE THE SALMON INSTEAD?

If you would like to bake the spicy Indian salmon fillets, pre-heat your oven for 10 minutes at 400°F/200°C. Line a sheet of foil on a baking tray and brush lightly with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. One by one, lift the salmon fillets from the bowl and allow any excess marinade to drip off. Place the fillets skin side down on top of the foil.

Slide the baking tray into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon fillets reach an internal temperature of 140°F/60°C. (They will continue cooking once out of the oven and will reach the FDA recommended temperature of 145°F/63°C.) Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the fillets to a serving plate lined with red onion slices, cucumber slices, and lemon wedges for squeezing if desired. Then garnish with chopped coriander, and serve with rice and/or a side salad and enjoy!

Indian spicy salmon fillet garnished with chopped coriander on top of red onion rings in a bowl with rice, cucumber slices, and a lemon wedge.

MAKE-AHEAD AND MEAL PREP

This spicy Indian salmon is best enjoyed right after cooking. But you definitely can cook it in advance, and reheat in the microwave for a minute or two until heated through. Keep in mind that the fillets won’t be as crispy if you microwave them, and they may be a little dryer than if you were to eat it right after cooking.

That being said, I occasionally make this on a Sunday night for meal prep, and have the salmon with some salad and rice for dinner or lunch during the week. The spicy Indian salmon is still incredibly tasty and flavorful on a Wednesday night even though I cooked them on Sunday!

A fork with a bite of spicy Indian salmon and fillet garnished with coriander in a bowl of rice with cucumber slices, red onion, and a lemon wedge.

OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY THE SPICY INDIAN SALMON

The great thing about this Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon is that you can enjoy them in several ways! You can cook and flake the salmon fillets (leave the skin behind if you like) with a fork. Then make some:

  • Tacos
  • Salad Bowls (With greens and toppings of your choice, and a light mint chutney and garlic & herb yogurt dressing.) ← Indian/fusion lunchtime nirvana. 😇
  • Sandwiches (or epic, toppings loaded burgers!)
  • Wraps

Or dice up the fillet into bite-sized pieces and use the chunks to toss in a…

These are just some ideas, but don’t be afraid to get creative!

Flaked salmon bite on a fork on top of rice in a bowl, and spicy Indian salmon fillets garnished with chopped coriander on top of red onion slices on a white serving plate with cucumber slices and lemon wedges.

MORE INDIAN FAVORITES

Looking for more mouthwatering Indian recipes for dinner or your next party? Check out some of my tried and true favorites!


If you make this recipe, leave a comment and review it below with a star rating! Take a photo and be sure to tag it with @thatspicychick on Instagram and hashtag it #thatspicychick so I can see! 😉

If you like this recipe, please share it around. Your support means the world to me. 🤗

Print
A fork with a bite of spicy Indian salmon and fillet garnished with coriander in a bowl of rice with cucumber slices, red onion, and a lemon wedge.

Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon

This Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon is quick and easy to make, spicy, and ridiculously tasty! It’s loaded with flavor, and great for weeknight dinners and meal prep!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Pan-fry
  • Cuisine: Indian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 Salmon Fillets, boneless, skin-on (about 120 grams/4-5 oz. per fillet)
  • 2 TSP Kosher Salt
  • 3/41 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBLS Ginger Garlic Paste (use 1 TBLS of each if using separate bottles of ginger paste and garlic paste)
  • 2 TSP Garam Masala (store-bought is fine, but I highly recommend using homemade garam masala for best flavor and taste)
  • 1 TSP ground Cumin
  • 1 TSP Coriander powder
  • 1.5 TSP Turmeric powder
  • 11.5 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • 1/21 TSP Chili powder, to taste (I used Mexican Hot Chili Powder, but Kashmiri or regular chili powder is good too.)
  • Tandoori Color powder (you can use a drop of red food coloring instead, or leave it out since it’s only for color and won’t affect the taste)
  • 2 TBLS freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 TBLS Water
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil (or any other cooking oil) – for frying
  • To Serve (optional): Sliced red onion, sliced cucumber, lemon wedges, chopped coriander and/or mint leaves, a side salad, steamed rice, etc.

Instructions

  1. Clean the salmon fillets: Remove them from the packaging they came in and gently wipe with paper towels to dry them.
  2. Combine the salt, freshly cracked black pepper, ginger garlic paste, garam masala, ground cumin, coriander powder, turmeric powder, ground cayenne, chili powder, tandoori color powder, lemon juice, and water in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon to evenly combine.
  3. Add the salmon fillets to the marinade bowl and use a spoon to spread and evenly coat the spice mixture on all sides of the fillets. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes at least, or overnight in the fridge for more flavor.
  4. Remove the salmon fillets bowl from the fridge 40-60 minutes in advance before cooking so that they can come to room temperature. (Note: Skip this step if marinating for less than an hour.)
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lift the salmon fillets from the marinade bowl and allow any excess marinade to drip off. Once the oil is hot, place the salmon fillets skin side down in the skillet and pan-fry for 3-4 minutes. Then turn over the fillets using a fish spatula and pan-fry the front for 3-4 minutes. (You will notice the marinade blackening on the skin side, but don’t worry. The “burnt” bits will infuse the salmon with a charred and grilled flavor and can be scraped off after cooking as needed.) Use tongs or the fish spatula to turn and crisp up the sides of the fillets – about 15-20 seconds for each side. Once the salmon fillets have cooked through, transfer the fillets to a clean plate and scrape off any burnt bits if needed. (Note: Use a sharp knife to check the doneness of the flesh, or a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature has reached 145°F/63°C*) Insert the knife or thermometer in the thickest part of the fillet. The flesh should be opaque and flake easily.)
  6. To Serve: Place the fillets on a plate lined with red onion slices, cucumber slices, and lemon wedges for squeezing if desired. Garnish with chopped coriander and enjoy with steamed rice and a side salad!

Notes

  1. How to tell if your salmon is cooked: The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets. The FDA recommends cooking salmon until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F/63°C. I personally enjoy it at this temperature too. However, many people enjoy salmon when it’s cooked to medium – about 125-135°F (52-57°C). It is indeed flakier and more moist at this temperature. So feel free to cook it a couple of degrees under the FDA recommended temperature if that is your preference and at your own discretion. I highly recommend investing in a food thermometer if you want to make sure your salmon (or any other meat or fish you cook) is safe to eat.
  2. Baking instructions: Pre-heat your oven for 10 minutes at 400°F/200°C. Line a sheet of foil on a baking tray and brush lightly with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. One by one, lift the salmon fillets from the bowl and allow any excess marinade to drip off. Place the fillets skin side down on top of the foil. Slide the baking tray into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon fillets reach an internal temperature of 140°F/60°C. (They will continue cooking once out of the oven and will reach the FDA recommended temperature of 145°F/63°C.) Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the fillets to a serving plate lined with red onion slices, cucumber slices, and lemon wedges for squeezing if desired. Then garnish with chopped coriander, and serve with rice and/or a side salad and enjoy!
  3. Make ahead: This spicy Indian salmon is best enjoyed right after cooking, but you can cook it in advance and reheat in the microwave for a minute or two until heated through. Keep in mind that the fillets won’t be as crispy if you microwave them, and they may be a little dryer than if you were to eat it right after cooking.
  4. Meal prep: You can make this on a Sunday night for meal prep, and have the salmon with some salad and/or rice for dinner or lunch during the week. The spicy Indian salmon will still be incredibly tasty and flavorful on a Wednesday night even if you cook them on Sunday!
  5. Other ways to enjoy the salmon: You can enjoy the spicy Indian salmon in tacos, salad bowls, sandwiches (or burgers), wraps, etc. Or cut up the salmon into bite-sized pieces and enjoy with pasta, noodles, or on top of a naanza (naan pizza!).

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 salmon fillet
  • Calories: 186
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 748.8mg
  • Fat: 6.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.6g
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Protein: 27.2g
  • Cholesterol: 61.2mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

Spicy Indian Pan-fried Salmon garnished with chopped coriander on top of red onion rings on a long white serving plate with cumber slices and lemon wedges.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

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