Fish Tikka
Fish Tikka
5 from 4 votes
Serve this delicious fish tikka recipe over chapatis or naan bread to make this speedy Indian-inspired supper. This fish tikka is juicy, moist, and so flavourful.
Fish Tikka

Fish Tikka. Just hearing its name evokes a symphony of spices and that unmistakable aroma wafting from a sizzling hot plate. This dish, a star in its own right, has carved its niche in the vast culinary landscape of South Asian cuisine.

Its origins trace back to the Mughal era, where kebabs and tikkas were the centrepiece of royal feasts. With a perfect blend of spices and tender fish chunks, it’s no surprise that it quickly spread to the hearts and homes of millions.

But what makes Fish Tikka truly special is the delicate balance between its ingredients and the cooking technique.

It’s not too hard for a culinary enthusiast to whip up, but mastering it? That’s where the magic lies. To be precise, I’d place it somewhere between “I got this” and “Hmm, maybe I need a bit more practice.”

Variations of Fish Tikka are abundant. Some like it spicy, some tangy, and some prefer a mellower version for their palate.

The spices used can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. But regardless of the variation, the essence remains the same – succulent fish chunks marinated in a flavourful mix, roasted to perfection.

When you think about it, the process of making Fish Tikka is almost poetic. Patting the fish dry ensures it absorbs the spices better.

Every ingredient, from lemon juice to Kashmiri chilli, plays its part in this gourmet play. The marinating process is when the fish soaks in all the flavours, getting ready to offer us a bite of the vast South Asian culinary tale.

The skewering of the fish chunks isn’t just a cooking method; it’s a testament to the dish’s kebab lineage. And the roasting? Ah, the roasting transforms those marinated chunks into tantalizing bites of sheer joy.

But of course, the proof of the pudding, or in this case, tikka, is in the eating. Serve it hot, straight from the oven, paired with soft naan bread. Every bite is a reminder of its rich history, its culinary journey, and the love with which it was made.

Whether you’re making it for the first time or the hundredth, the Fish Tikka is sure to leave an indelible mark on your taste buds. And trust me, you’ll be coming back for more.

What Ingredients to Use & Why

When crafting the perfect Fish Tikka, each ingredient isn’t just a component; it’s a character in a story.

These characters harmoniously meld to create a rich and complex narrative that your taste buds get to savour. Understanding the depth and role of each ingredient in this recipe can help not just in perfecting it but also in appreciating its culinary brilliance.

The star of our dish, fish provides a mild yet flavourful canvas for the spices to shine.

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s a great source of protein. The delicate texture of the fish complements the robust flavours of the marinade.

While many opt for boneless fish chunks, you can use any fish variety you like. If you’re looking for an alternative, chicken or paneer could work, though the cooking time might vary.

Oil: Acting as a binding agent, oil ensures that our spices coat the fish beautifully, contributing to a crispy exterior and moist interior. Olive oil or mustard oil could be used as alternatives for a slightly varied taste profile.

Lemon Juice: The tangy splash that elevates the flavour profile. It not only provides zesty notes but also aids in tenderizing the fish. As an alternative, you can use vinegar, but I’d recommend sticking with lemon for its freshness.

Garlic Paste: Aromatic and full-bodied, garlic paste infuses the fish with a deep and slightly pungent aroma, grounding the spices and enhancing the overall taste. Ginger paste can be used alongside or as an alternative for a spicier kick.

Salt: More than just a seasoning, salt is the bridge connecting all flavours, enhancing them and bringing balance. No real alternatives here unless you’re exploring Himalayan pink salt or sea salt for subtle differences.

Chilli Powder & Crushed Chillies: These bring the heat! Giving the Fish Tikka its characteristic fiery kick, they add depth and warmth. For those who prefer a milder flavour, paprika can be used as an alternative.

Cumin & Coriander Powder: The aromatic duo. Cumin adds an earthy touch, while coriander gives it a slight citrusy undertone. Together, they create a balanced aromatic base. For variations, roasted cumin or coriander seeds can be crushed and added.

Turmeric Powder (Haldi): Not just for colour, turmeric brings a mild earthy aroma and has numerous health benefits. Saffron can be an alternative for a more luxurious touch, though sparingly, as it has a dominant flavour.

Kashmiri Chilli: This spice gives the tikka its beautiful vibrant colour without making it overly spicy. If you’re in a pinch, paprika with a pinch of cayenne can be a workaround.

Carom Seeds (Ajwain): These tiny seeds pack a punch! With their unique aroma, they not only aid digestion but also add a distinct taste, setting the Fish Tikka apart from other dishes. No direct alternative here, but omitting them won’t derail the recipe.

Crafting the Fish Tikka isn’t just about following a recipe; it’s about orchestrating a symphony of flavours.

Each ingredient plays its part, and when combined in the right proportions, the result is nothing short of a culinary masterpiece. So, the next time you make or eat Fish Tikka, you won’t just be enjoying a dish; you’ll be savouring a beautifully composed flavour narrative.

The Secrets of Achieving the Perfect Fish Tikka

Diving into the world of Fish Tikka, I’ve often found myself pondering over what makes it so incredibly delicious. The Fish Tikka isn’t just another dish on the menu; it’s a culmination of history, spices, technique, and, most importantly, love.

The starting point is, of course, the fish. As the main ingredient, its freshness and quality can make or break the dish.

When I select fish for this delicacy, I tend to go for firm white-fleshed fish that can hold its own against the bold spices. The fish acts as a canvas, waiting to be painted with rich, aromatic flavours.

But let’s not forget the marinade. If the fish is the canvas, then the marinade is the artist. Every time I prepare the spices, I’m reminded of the deep-rooted history of the dish.

From the tangy kick of lemon juice to the deep aromatic notes of garlic paste, each ingredient has a tale to tell. And let’s not even get started on the vibrant hue from the Kashmiri chili, which not only beautifies the dish but also adds a gentle heat that resonates in every bite.

Roasting is another vital aspect. One might wonder, why not fry or grill? Well, roasting gives the Fish Tikka that ideal charred exterior and flaky interior. It’s a delicate balance to maintain, but when achieved, the results are undeniably mouth-watering.

It’s not just the ingredients or the technique that makes the Fish Tikka special. It’s the memories and experiences attached to it. Every bite takes me on a journey, a celebration of flavours that I cherish deeply.

Tweaking the Traditional: Fish Tikka Variations I’ve Tried

Traditional recipes are close to my heart, but there’s also a thrill in tweaking the classic to create something uniquely mine. In my culinary adventures with Fish Tikka, I’ve often ventured off the beaten path, making variations that have both surprised and delighted my taste buds.

Let’s begin with the marinade. Traditional Fish Tikka marinade has its charm, but have you ever tried adding a splash of coconut milk?

The first time I did, the result was a creamy, rich flavour that juxtaposed beautifully with the spices. The coconut milk doesn’t overpower; instead, it brings a lusciousness to the dish that’s unparalleled.

Then there’s the fusion approach. Drawing inspiration from global cuisines, I’ve sometimes replaced the traditional spices with ones that aren’t typical in South Asian cooking.

Once, on a whim, I replaced cumin with za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix. The outcome? A Fish Tikka that sang notes of the Mediterranean.

Let’s talk about accompaniments. While naan is the traditional choice, I’ve served Fish Tikka with quinoa salads, roasted vegetables, or even as a topping on a flatbread pizza. The versatility of this dish is genuinely remarkable.

But, no matter how many variations I try, there’s one thing I’ve realized: the essence of Fish Tikka remains unchanged. The heart of the dish beats with the same rhythm of flavours, history, and love.

As I continue to experiment, it serves as a beautiful reminder that while traditions are sacred, there’s always room for a little innovation.

My Love Affair with Carom Seeds in Fish Tikka

Fish Tikka! Whenever I think of this delightful dish, a myriad of spices dance in my mind, each with its unique character. But among them, carom seeds (ajwain) always hold a special place in my heart. Their presence in the recipe isn’t just a mere addition; it’s a secret love affair.

Carom seeds are tiny, yet their punchy flavour is undeniably bold. The first time I incorporated them into my Fish Tikka marinade, I was blown away by the distinct taste they imparted.

Not only did they bring a beautiful aroma, but they also added a subtle bite that tingled the palate. In a dish so rich with various spices, the carom seeds made their mark known.

The beauty of carom seeds isn’t just limited to their taste. They have been a staple in traditional medicine for years. Every time I indulge in a serving of Fish Tikka, I can’t help but appreciate the digestive benefits these magical seeds bring. It’s like enjoying a treat and a health benefit in the same bite!

Moreover, the seeds have an incredible knack for enhancing the flavours around them. While they have their unique aroma, they don’t overshadow the other ingredients.

Instead, they seem to uplift every spice, making the Fish Tikka a harmonious blend of flavours. No wonder I always find myself going back to them, time and again.

Carom seeds have become a testament to the beauty of understated ingredients. Sometimes, it’s not the loudest components that make a dish special, but the silent ones that work their magic in the background.

The Aesthetic Appeal of Fish Tikka: A Symphony of Colours and Flavours

Every time I lay out a plate of Fish Tikka, it’s not just the flavours that captivate me. It’s the vibrant mosaic of colours that tease the eyes even before the first bite. Indeed, Fish Tikka isn’t merely a feast for the taste buds; it’s a visual delight.

The first thing that always catches my eye is the bright red hue, thanks to the Kashmiri chili. The chili doesn’t just bring heat; it paints the fish in passionate red strokes, making it look as fiery as it tastes. But the truth is, the chili’s heat is mellow, deceptive in its fierceness, and seductive in its allure.

Then there’s the golden touch of turmeric, lending a warm, sun-kissed glow. Every time I sprinkle turmeric over the marinade, I can’t help but admire the radiant transformation it brings. It’s like watching a sunset captured on a plate.

Now, a quick glance might make one believe that Fish Tikka is all about reds and yellows. But upon closer inspection, the subtle greens and browns peek through.

The coriander and cumin powders don’t just add flavour; they introduce a depth of colour, contrasting beautifully with the more vibrant spices.

The Dance of Oils: My Exploration with Fish Tikka

Oil in Fish Tikka isn’t just a component; it’s the fluid ballet dancer that binds the symphony of flavours together. In my kitchen escapades, the choice of oil has always been crucial.

While 2 tablespoons might seem insignificant, this liquid gold lays down the foundation for the marinade, ensuring the spices cling to the fish, imparting deep flavours.

Initially, I settled for regular cooking oil, and yes, it did the job. But then, my adventurous side kicked in. I dabbled with olive oil, whose fruity undertones brought a unique twist to the Tikka. The Mediterranean touch was undeniable, and it added an extra layer of richness.

But my experiments didn’t end there. Coconut oil was next on my list. The tropical aroma it brought was a delightful surprise. Every bite of the Fish Tikka felt like a seaside vacation, with coconut trees swaying in my imagination. It was an escapade, right in the comforts of my dining room!

While oils like sesame and mustard did cross my mind, I found them a bit overpowering for the delicate fish. But hey, that’s the beauty of culinary journeys – you never know what might surprise you!

Through all these trials and errors, I realized that the oil in Fish Tikka isn’t just a medium; it’s a character.

It has the power to elevate the dish, take it to uncharted territories, or ground it in tradition. As for me, my quest for the perfect oil continues, with each experiment adding a new chapter to my Fish Tikka story.

Lemon Juice: The Unsung Hero in My Fish Tikka Recipe

The zest and tang of lemon juice in Fish Tikka might seem like a minor touch, but in my culinary book, it’s the unsung hero. Among the plethora of spices and flavours, it’s easy to overlook this citrusy wonder. However, its role is pivotal in balancing and elevating the flavours.

When I added lemon juice for the first time, its acidic nature worked wonders in tenderizing the fish.

It broke down the proteins, ensuring the marinade penetrated deeply, infusing every bite with robust flavours. Every time I’ve skipped on lemon juice, the difference was palpable. The fish lacked that depth of flavour and tenderness that only this citrusy delight can bring.

Moreover, the tangy kick of the lemon contrasts beautifully with the heat of the chilies and the earthiness of the spices. It’s like a refreshing breeze on a hot summer day. Without it, the Fish Tikka feels incomplete, lacking that zesty punch that awakens the palate.

But the lemon’s role isn’t just confined to flavour and tenderness. In my experience, it also acts as a preservative. Especially when I prepare the marinade in advance, the lemon juice ensures it stays fresh, its acidic nature warding off any spoilage.

Reflecting on my Fish Tikka journey, it’s the little things like lemon juice that make the biggest difference.

It’s not just about the big, bold flavours but also the subtle touches that bring harmony to the dish. And every time I squeeze that lemon into the marinade, I’m reminded of its indispensable role in my beloved recipe.

Embracing the Heat: My Dance with Chilli in Fish Tikka

Spice and heat – these two components have always fascinated me in culinary explorations. But when it comes to Fish Tikka, the role of chilli is simply unparalleled. Its fiery character is what gives this dish its iconic zest, turning each bite into a passionate embrace of warmth.

My affair with chilli began with regular chilli powder. Its predictable heat worked well, lending the dish a welcome warmth. However, being the curious chef that I am, I ventured into the world of Kashmiri chilli. Now, this was a game-changer.

Not only did it offer a milder heat, but its deep red hue turned the fish into a vibrant masterpiece, making the dish as appealing to the eyes as it is to the taste buds.

The crushed chillies were another discovery. Their coarse texture and unpredictable heat spots created a fun play in the mouth. Some bites were milder, and others packed a punch, keeping my palate constantly on its toes.

Yet, chilli isn’t just about the heat. It has antioxidants and is rich in vitamin C. Every time I indulge in Fish Tikka, there’s a sense of satisfaction knowing that the heat isn’t just tantalizing my taste buds but also offering health benefits.

However, my dance with chilli has taught me restraint. It’s tempting to go overboard, but Fish Tikka requires a delicate balance. Too much heat, and the subtle flavours get overshadowed; too little, and the dish lacks its iconic zest. It’s a perpetual balancing act, one that I’ve grown to love and respect.

The Golden Touch: Turmeric’s Role in My Fish Tikka Adventure

Ah, turmeric! Often referred to as the ‘golden spice,’ its role in Fish Tikka is like that of a seasoned artist subtly blending colours on a canvas. When I first introduced turmeric into the marinade, I was captivated by the radiant glow it bestowed upon the fish.

But the love story with turmeric isn’t just about its mesmerizing colour. Every time I incorporated this golden wonder, I was transported back to ancient India.

With its roots in Ayurveda, turmeric isn’t merely a spice; it’s a bridge to India’s rich heritage. And knowing its anti-inflammatory properties and health benefits makes every bite of Fish Tikka feel both indulgent and therapeutic.

Beyond its health benefits and historical significance, turmeric’s mild, earthy flavour acts as a grounding agent. Amid the fiery chilies and aromatic spices, turmeric brings a gentle warmth, ensuring the dish remains balanced and harmonious.

It’s also been fun experimenting with fresh turmeric root versus the dried powder. The fresh root brings a more pronounced earthiness, while the powdered form offers convenience. It’s always a toss-up between the two, depending on the mood and occasion.

Looking back, my Fish Tikka journey wouldn’t be complete without the golden touch of turmeric. It’s a testament to the beauty of Indian cuisine, where each ingredient, no matter how subtle, plays a pivotal role, painting a story of flavours, traditions, and memories.

The Aromatic Allure: Decoding Cumin in My Fish Tikka

One of the core spices in my Fish Tikka escapade has been cumin. As a spice, cumin brings its unique, aromatic signature to any dish, but in the context of Fish Tikka, its role is truly transformative.

I’ve always found cumin intriguing. Unlike other overtly dominant spices, cumin’s appeal lies in its subtlety. It offers a slightly bitter, nutty flavour, which seems to play hide and seek with your taste buds.

And as I dived deeper into the world of Fish Tikka, I realized how cumin acts as a bridge, connecting the robust flavours of chillies with the mellower notes of fish.

Historically, cumin has been revered not only for its flavour but also for its digestive properties. There’s something immensely comforting about this. Every time I take a bite of my Fish Tikka, I know that while my palate is relishing the flavours, the cumin is ensuring everything sits well in my stomach.

Experimenting with roasted cumin was another delightful detour. Roasting the cumin seeds enhanced their flavour profile, making them more aromatic and a tad sweeter. The occasional bite into a roasted seed while enjoying the Tikka is an experience in itself!

Reflecting on my journey, cumin’s inclusion in Fish Tikka isn’t just about tradition; it’s about understanding the complex interplay of flavours that defines this iconic dish. It’s about appreciating the symphony where every note, no matter how soft, adds depth and nuance.

Coriander Powder: The Silent Maestro in My Fish Tikka Chronicles

Every chef has their secret weapon, and in my Fish Tikka chronicles, coriander powder holds that title. Often overshadowed by its vibrant counterparts, I’ve found coriander powder to be the silent maestro, orchestrating a background symphony that enhances the dish’s overall composition.

Initially, I didn’t quite realize the gravitas of coriander powder. But as I delved deeper into perfecting my Fish Tikka, the sweet and slightly citrusy undertones of this spice began to shine. It balanced the heat from the chillies, harmonized with the tang of lemon, and brought out the fish’s innate flavours.

But there’s more to coriander than meets the palate. As I researched its origins, I discovered its long-standing prominence in ancient culinary practices, particularly in the Indian subcontinent.

Its seeds have been found in ruins dating back to 5000 BC! Every sprinkle of coriander powder is, in a sense, an ode to this rich legacy.

Additionally, the health benefits of coriander are not to be overlooked. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to aid digestion, incorporating it into the Fish Tikka is like offering the best of both worlds – taste and wellness.

What stands out about coriander powder is its humility. It doesn’t scream for attention but silently works its magic. And every time I enjoy my perfectly marinated Fish Tikka, I tip my hat to this unassuming maestro, forever grateful for its silent symphony

Check Out These Other Recipes

When I first tried that delectable Fish Tikka, it was a flavour revelation. But let me tell you, the journey doesn’t end there. If you’re as smitten with it as I was, there are a few other appetizers you simply must dive into.

Have you ever indulged in Chicken Tikka Wings? They’re like a close cousin to the Fish Tikka, only with tender chicken offering a playful twist to the familiar flavours.

But if you’re looking for something a tad different, yet still swimming in those classic flavours, the Fish Pakora is a bite-sized delicacy you can’t afford to miss.

Maybe you’re curious to find out what happens when chicken meets the same rich spices and aromatics?

Then, let Chicken Malai Tikka guide you on that flavourful journey. But perhaps you’re a fan of the classics? In that case, the Tandoori Chicken is a timeless dish that’s sure to evoke those warm, familiar sensations with every bite.

And for a delightful finale, why not treat yourself to the Chicken Chapli Kebab? It’s a bit of a twist from our original Fish Tikka, but the spices and textures will undoubtedly transport you right back to those first mouthfuls of aromatic pleasure.

I would absolutely love to hear which of these appetizers becomes your next favourite! Please, share your experiences in the comments, and let’s embark on this culinary journey together.

Fish Tikka

Fish Tikka

by Nabeela Kauser
Serve this delicious fish tikka recipe over chapatis or naan bread to make this speedy Indian-inspired supper. This fish tikka is juicy, moist, and so flavourful.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marination Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 5
Calories 161 kcal


  • 500 g Fish Cod
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • ½ tsp Crushed Chillies
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli
  • 1 tsp Carom Seeds Ajwain


  • Make sure to pat the fish dry and there is no water in the fish
  • In a bowl add all the ingredients to the fish chunks and mix until well combined
  • Set aside and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes
  • Once ready to cook preheat the oven to 240°C (465°F) gas mark 9 and skewer the fish chunks and place on a roasting tray
  • Roast the fish for 8-10 minutes until cooked through
  • Serve immediately with a side of naan bread and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 161kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 21gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 532mgPotassium: 350mgFibre: 1gSugar: 0.2gVitamin A: 243IUVitamin C: 2mgVitamin D: 3µgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
Keyword BBQ, Fish, Food, Ramadan, Recipe, Seafood, Summer, Tikka
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!
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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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