Nigerian Fried Fish: How to Fry Fish Nigerian Style

April 3, 2017 (Last Updated: March 16, 2020)

In this delicious Nigerian fried fish recipe, I demonstrate how to fry fish using the Nigerian style of marinating and seasoning with caught fried perch served with a variety of chips.

Nigerian fried fish with fried plantain, cocoyam and sweet potato

While preparing this Nigerian fried fish recipe, I couldn’t help but think of my parents. Growing up, seafood was a big part of my life, not just because I ate it a lot, but because there are so many memories surrounding Nigerian fish and other seafood dishes that I would never forget in a hurry. Before I talk about and demonstrate how to fry fish using the Nigerian style of seasoning, marinating and deep frying fish, I’d like to share a bit of myself and pay homage to my coastal roots and how it developed my love of seafood. 

My mother is originally from a coastal area of Nigeria, so seafood was always a tradition for her. I imagine that marrying my dad meant she got to share tons of interesting recipes with him because by the time I came around, my dad had already fallen in love with seafood himself. Fresh fish was always abundant in my childhood home and at not something I was always particularly fond of. This seafood tradition drilled even deeper into my family roots because around the age of 10, we moved into a neighborhood that was right around the corner from several fishing towns and a few minutes away from a handful of beaches. I remember one day, my dad took a walk to one of those fish markets and bought a significant amount of perch. Once he returned home, he lit up the coal pot (just think of it as a grill), and started roasting the fish. There was no need to announce his presence or an invitation as the aroma of the fish roasting on an open fire had all of us outside in minutes. We all sat warmed by the burning coal and eating roasted fish at the back of our house. There was no fancy equipment, no fancy serving dishes, nothing more than freshly caught perch, a few seasonings over a hot coal. It remains the best fish dish I have ever had till now, and is also the inspiration behind the Nigerian style I use to fry my fish.

fried perch with fried sweet potato cubes, taro root, plantain chips

Classic, western fish are usually fried in a batter and served with potato chips or the like. Nigerian fried fish omits the batter. In this Nigerian fried fish recipe, I serve freshly caught fried perch with fried sweet potato cubes, fried cocoyam (taro) chips, and some plantain chips as sides. I prepared the plantain chips just like in my previous plantain chips recipe with the chips just cut a little differently. My choice of perch was sentimental (based on the story above) but the Nigerian style of frying fish can be applied to any fish of your choice with the promise of very spicy but delicious results!

How to Fry Fish Nigerian Style

Main Ingredients

  • 4 whole perch scaled and gutted (I used perch but feel free to use any fish of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of bullion
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • Half a teaspoon dry mustard
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Half a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 batata sweet potatoes red skinned sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes (optional)
  • 2 lbs cocoyams or taro root peeled and cut into 1 inch thick strips (optional)
  • Oil for deep frying

Mix the Dry Seasoning

Combine all the dry seasonings (black pepper, bullion, chilli pepper, ginger, dry mustard, salt, and garlic powder), and set aside.

Marinating the Fish

Pat dry the cleaned fish so it is not wet, lightly score the fish twice on each side then season each fish with about half to 1 teaspoon of the dry seasoning.

Massage the dry seasoning into the fish gently then set aside.Marinading the perch before frying

Frying the Fish

In a deep fryer/ deep frying pan, bring the oil up to a temperature of about 350 degrees F.

Usually if you don’t have a thermometer or are too lazy like me to use it, just throw in a piece of bread into the oil, if it sizzles, then you know it is ready. Just be cautious, this method does not tell you if your oil is too hot.testing the oil temperature with piece of bread

Fry the fish for about 10-15 minutes on each side, until the fish is golden brown on both sides.frying perch in oil

Nigerian fried fish on plate with chips on side

This Nigerian fried fish recipe is dedicated to my mom and dad who just celebrated their birthdays! I love you both very much, words cannot express how grateful and lucky I am to have you as parents.

perch, fried Nigerian style with variety of chips served on table

Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Nigerian Fried Fish Recipe

In this delicious Nigerian fried fish recipe, I demonstrate how to fry fish using the Nigerian style of marinating and seasoning with caught fried perch served with a variety of chips.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Nigerian, Tropical
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 83.3kcal
Author: Yummy Medley

Ingredients

  • 4 whole perch scaled and gutted
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp bullion
  • 1 tsp chilli pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 batata sweet potatoes (optional) red skinned sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 lbs taro root (optional) peeled and cut into 1 inch thick strips
  • Oil for deep frying

Instructions

  • Combine all the dry seasonings (black pepper, bullion, chilli pepper, ginger, dry mustard, salt, and garlic powder), and set aside.
  • Pat dry the cleaned fish so it is not wet, lightly score the fish twice on each side then season each fish with about 1/2-1 tsp of the dry seasoning. Massage the dry seasoning into the fish gently then set aside, in a deep fryer/ deep frying pan, bring the oil up to a temperature of about 350 degrees F. Usually if you don't have a thermometer or are too lazy like me to use it, just throw in a piece of bread into the oil, if it sizzles, then you know it is ready. Just be cautious, this method does not tell you if your oil is too hot.
  • Fry the fish for about 10-15 minutes on each side, until the fish is golden brown on both sides.
  • Fry the potatoes and taro root separately, until it is tender and crisp on the outside (takes about 10 minutes).
  • Serve!

Notes

Nigerian Fried Fish Nutrition

The nutritional information for a serving of Nigerian fried fish and chips shown below with perch as the main fish ingredient and the assumption of 10% oil retention on deep fried foods.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Osuizugbe Perpetual
    July 22, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Really great!!!

    • Reply
      Ms. Yum
      July 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Thank you Perpetual!

  • Reply
    Ben
    February 4, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    5 stars
    Aww yeah. I need to make this. I love fried fish, and I love spicy food. It’s the perfect combo for me!

    • Reply
      Lois
      February 4, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      The perfect match if you ask me! Let me know when you do how you liked it!

  • Reply
    Bernice Hill
    February 7, 2020 at 12:59 am

    Lucky you, I would have loved to grow up by the ocean. Instead, I was landlocked in the middle of Canada. We did have perch though. Love this spin on fish n chips.

  • Reply
    GUNJAN C Dudani
    February 8, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    5 stars
    My sister in law loves fish and this recipe perfectly fits her diet. She would love to make this recipe and enjoy. So sharing your site with her.

    • Reply
      Lois
      February 9, 2020 at 11:50 pm

      Let me know how she likes it!

  • Reply
    Paula Montenegro
    February 9, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    5 stars
    I’m not at all familiar with Nigerian cuisine but the flavors you use for this fish are amazing! I can’t wait to try my hand at this recipe!

  • Reply
    Uma
    February 9, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Fried fish sounds good with chips. Always wondered how to cook fried fish. I am not a big fan of fish but my friends are.

  • Reply
    Tara
    February 9, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    5 stars
    So I have never tried something like this before, but it does look so good. I need to see if I can get all the ingredients for it. Now I did try the fish and it was very flavorful.

  • Reply
    Jacqui DeBono
    February 9, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    5 stars
    This is so good. As a fish and chip loving Brit with Nigerian family members, this makes us all happy!

  • Reply
    Jenni LeBaron
    February 9, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    5 stars
    I love how you’ve seasoned this fish and chips recipe and love that it’s totally different from classic British fish and chips. The ginger in this is really intriguing and I can’t wait to sample the spice mix you used because it sounds so flavorful!

    • Reply
      Lois
      February 9, 2020 at 11:50 pm

      Thanks Jenni!

  • Reply
    JJ Fish
    October 20, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Nigerian fried fish looks delicious, will definitely try it!

  • Leave a Reply

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