How To Fry Fish In Nigeria

Table of Contents

How to Fry Fish in Nigeria

Fried fish is a staple in Nigeria's cuisine, and it is a popular way to prepare fish. Whether you are cooking for yourself or for a crowd, frying fish is an easy and delicious way to enjoy this tasty seafood. In this article, we will explore step-by-step how to fry fish in Nigeria, the best types of fish to use, and tips for making your fried fish crispy and flavorful.

Types of Fish for Frying

The type of fish you use for frying is essential to consider. Nigerian cuisine typically uses tilapia, mackerel, catfish, or croaker when frying fish. Each fish has its unique flavor profile and texture. Tilapia is mild and doesn't overpower other flavors, while catfish has a distinctive taste and is a favorite in many Nigerian households. Mackerel is oily and gives a crispy texture when fried. Croaker, on the other hand, is delicate and tender, making it a great choice for a more refined dish.

Preparing the Fish

Before frying, you need to prepare the fish. Start by cleaning the fish thoroughly and removing any scales, guts, and bones. Cut the fish into manageable pieces, making sure they are a good size for frying. Season the fish with salt, pepper, and any other spices you enjoy, such as garlic or onion powder. It is essential to let the fish marinate for at least an hour to absorb the flavors fully.

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The Batter

Next, you need to make the batter for your fried fish. The batter is what gives your fish a crispy texture while keeping the moisture inside. For a classic Nigerian-style batter, mix all-purpose flour, cornmeal, salt, and spices in a bowl. Gradually add water to the mixture until you have a smooth, thick batter. You can adjust the consistency of the batter by adding more water or flour as needed.

Frying the Fish

To fry the fish, heat up enough oil in a deep frying pan to cover the fish pieces. Once the oil is hot enough, dip each piece of fish into the batter, making sure it is coated evenly. Gently place the fish into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the fish for around four minutes on each side, or until it is golden brown and crispy. Once done, remove the fish from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Serving Suggestions

Fried fish is versatile and can be served as a main dish, a side dish, or a snack. You can serve it with fried plantains, yam, or cassava, and a side of spicy pepper sauce. It is also a great addition to Nigerian jollof rice or fried rice.

Tips for Perfectly Fried Fish

Here are a few tips to ensure your fried fish turns out perfectly:

  • Always use fresh fish
  • Pat the fish dry before seasoning and battering. This will help the batter adhere better to the fish.
  • Use a deep-frying pan to ensure the fish is completely submerged in oil.
  • Don't overcrowd the pan when frying the fish. This will lower the temperature of the oil, resulting in soggy fish.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the fish from the oil to avoid breaking the batter.
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Fried fish is a simple but delicious dish that is a staple in Nigerian cuisine. It is easy to make and versatile enough to be served in various ways. The key to perfecting the dish is choosing the right fish, preparing it well, making a flavorful batter, and frying it correctly. With these tips, you'll be able to make perfectly crispy and delicious fried fish every time.


  1. Can I use frozen fish for frying?
    Yes, but make sure it is fully thawed before frying. Frozen fish releases moisture, which can cause the oil to splatter and lower the temperature of the oil.

  2. How can I tell when the fish is done frying?
    The fish should be golden brown and crispy. You can use a fork to pierce the thickest part of the fish to check if it is cooked through.

  3. Can I reuse the oil for frying fish?
    Yes, but you need to strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer to remove any debris or fish bits. Store the oil in a cool, dark place and discard it after three batches of frying fish.

  4. Can I bake the fish instead of frying it?
    Yes, you can bake the fish in the oven at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

  5. Can I use a different batter for frying fish?
    Yes, you can experiment with different types of batter, such as using breadcrumbs or cornflakes to coat the fish.