1. Grind the shallot, garlic, ginger, vinegar, curry leaves, red chile powder, turmeric, salt and black pepper in a blender or food processor to make a thick paste.

2. Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in a pot and fry the ground masala paste over medium low heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the raw onion smell disappears. Set aside.

3. Slice the swordfish into four 1/2-inch thick slices. With a sharp knife, cut slits into the swordfish so the flavor of the masala can get into the meat.

4. Spread one side of each piece of fish with the half of the masala paste.

5. Place the swordfish with the masala side down on a preheated grill. Spread the remaining masala on the top side of the fish. Since the swordfish is thin, it cooks very quickly in about 3 minutes per side.

6. Place a lemon wedge on each plate and top each piece of fish with a cilantro sprig.


- Serve with grilled asparagus and a green salad.

- Have the fishmonger slice the swordfish for you rather than doing it yourself. Also, I remove the skin before I cook the swordfish.


1 1/2 lb swordfish

1 large shallot, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

6 curry leaves, chopped

2 tsp vinegar

1/2 tsp red chili powder 

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper, ground

1 1/2 Tbs oil

1 lemon, quartered
4 sprigs cilantro

Spicy Grilled Swordfish  [Indian Seafood recipe]

When I visited India, in 1996, my family and I were invited to Maya and Bob Reddy's home for dinner. That evening we dined on her patio under traditional Indian lantern light. Maya served us the most delicious feast I have ever tasted. One dish in particular, Karimeen Pollichathu, had a huge impact on my impression of Kerala cooking and became my favorite preparation for fish. Her recipe used pearl spot fish which is found throughout Kerala. The fish was sliced into thin steaks, about a 1/2-inch thick that were marinated in a special blend of spices then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked to perfection. Unfortunately Maya passed away in 2009. ​I have revised Maya's original recipe from using the local specialty to using swordfish which is available where I live. I have also simplified the method of cooking it to take advantage of indoor or outdoor grills and the wonderful flavors they give to fish. I hope this recipe becomes part of your repertoire.