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Recheado Masala Fish

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Recheado masala fish is a Goan classic. It can be prepared easily on your barbecue.

From start to finish, you can prepare this delicious Goan recheado masala fish in about 30 minutes. Recheado masala fish can be prepared with the fish of your choice such as snapper, bass, bream and mackerel. You might even like to cook a selection of different fish with this recheado masala for a seafood feast. This is a recipe from my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy BBQ’ and you are going to love it!

Recheado Masala Fish

What is recheado masala? 

The paste used in this recheado masala fish recipe is ideal for stuffing fish, meat and vegetables but it can also be used as a marinade. Recheado masala is a Portuguese-inspired recipe from Goa, recheado meaning ‘stuffed’. It is much more common to fry recheado  masala fish but I like to char it over the fire. If you would like to fry it, just cover the bottom of a frying pan with oil and fry over direct heat until cooked through and crispy on both sides.

Working ahead

You can prepare the recheado masala a good few days before using it to marinate the fish. It also freezes well so you might like to upscale this recipe and freeze some so that you always have it on hand.

When you try this recheado masala fish, you might just want to do that!

Yield: 4

Recheado Masala Fish

Recheado Masala Fish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1kg (2lb 4oz) fish such as sardines or mackerel, fins snipped off
  • Flake sea salt, to serve Lemon wedges, to serve
  • 25 dried Kashmiri chillies, roughly chopped (remove the seeds if you don’t want it super-hot)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 5cm (2in) piece of ginger, peeled
  • and roughly chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed and
  • roughly chopped
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste (The ‘paste’
  • I use is labelled ‘concentrate’. 70ml (1⁄4 cup) palm vinegar (or white wine or cider vinegar)
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Place the fish on a board and scrape as much moisture out of the skin as you can using a sharp knife, then score the fish a few times on each side. Cover and place in the fridge while you prepare the marinade.
  2. Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and toast the chillies for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Be sure to move them around in the pan so that they toast evenly, then tip into a bowl and cover with water. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the whole spices until fragrant but not yet smoking and then transfer to a plate to cool.
  4. Next, pour the oil into the pan and fry the onions over a medium heat for about 7 minutes until soft, transparent and lightly caramelized. Pour the fried onions, drained chillies, toasted whole spices and the remaining ingredients apart from the salt into a spice grinder or blender and blend to a smooth paste.
  5. The recheado paste should be quite red. If you want it to be more red, you could add more paprika or even some more toasted chillies. Taste and add salt if you wish. You could also add a little more sugar if you want it sweeter.
  6. Rub the paste all over and inside the fish, ensuring that you get the marinade right into the slits you made. Set to one side to marinate while you fire up the grill.
  7. Many people use fish baskets to grill fish on the barbecue and if you have one, you could definitely use it here if you like. I have one, but it’s still in the packaging it came in. It just isn’t needed.
  8. Prepare a hot, direct heat fire, lightly brush the cooking grate with oil and when it is uncomfortable to hold your hand 5cm (2in) above the grill for more than 2 seconds, place your fish on it. Grill on one side until the fish comes away from the grill naturally and without sticking. A good metal spatula will help with this but don’t force it. The fish will come away once the skin has charred a bit.
  9. Flip and cook the other side until equally charred. Check, and if by chance the fish isn’t completely cooked through, just continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Depending on how charred the skin is, you might want to continue cooking over a cooler part of the fire.
  10. Sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 357mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 9gSugar: 19gProtein: 15g

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