Pan fried mackerel fish


5 Minutes


6-10 Minutes




This fish recipe works best using a mackerel cutlet for its flavour, texture and firmness. It is a family favourite among the Malaysians, whether you're Chinese, Malay or Indians. It is super easy and quick to make, and nutritiously healthy to eat a mackerel fish. There are several variations. Some families will only season the fish with salt and pepper with nothing else, others may add a bit of turmeric to flavour the fish, and some may even add a bit of chilli for a spicier flavour and taste.

Mackerel fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, high in protein and pack with micronutrients with very low calories. It is especially good for people who have low iron and need to eat more fish. Eating turmeric is also good for you. It is scientifically-proven with health benefits, such as having the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer and cancer. It's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

This recipe is my standard, classic fish to eat at least once a week for its health benefits, easy to cook, and it's not too expensive. The 2 thick cutlets used in my video cost $11 AUD to buy from the fishmonger at the market.

Pan fried mackerel fish


  1.  Season fish with salt and pepper

  2. Pound a few pieces of fresh turmeric

  3. Marinate the fish

  4. Pan fry the fish

How to make

A. Preparation
Clean and pad dry the fish. Then sprinkle a bit of salt and white pepper to season the fish for a few minutes.
Wipe or rinse off any dirt from the fresh turmeric. Place the turmeric on a mortar and then pound until coarsely smooth using a pestle.
Rub the freshly pounded turmeric all over the fish and let it marinate for 20 minutes.
Optional: if you like your fish a bit spicier, you can sprinkle some chilli powder and rub all over the fish

B. Cooking
Heat up some cooking oil on a medium-high heat.
Once oil is hot, gently place the fish cutlet on the frying pan. Do not disturb the fish and let it sear for 3-5 minutes. Time will vary depending on thickness of the cutlet.
Check to see the bottom is browned before turning over. Once it's browned, turn over and sear the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Cover with a lid if necessary to cook the fish right through.
Once the other side is browned and charred, turn off the heat.
Remove and plate. Serve with a homemade Malaysian-style "sambal belachan".



Share Recipe


  • 1-2 mackerel fish cutlets

  • 3-4 small pieces of fresh turmeric (or turmeric powder)

  • a bit of salt and white pepper