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Sri Lankan Devilled Fish

Sri Lankan devilled fish
Cooking Method ,
Cuisine ,
Courses ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 20 min Total Time: 35 mins
Servings 4

Devilled fish is a must-try Sri Lankan - Chinese fusion dish that is very popular and one of my favorite dishes of all time! It might look like a complicated recipe but trust me it's very easy. Just follow the steps. 

    To marinate fish
  • 500 grams Tuna Fish (500g = 1.1lb)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika or chili powder (use more if you like it hot)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • For the sauce
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light or regular soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Other
  • 1 tablespoon coconut, avocado or canola oil (for stir-frying)
  • 1 piece of cinnamon (prerarably true Ceylon cinnamon)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 1/2 of a small pandan leaf broken into pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili flakes (reduce for less heat)
  • 2 teaspoons Sri Lankan- chinese chili paste (substitute: Malaysian crispy prawn chili)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 large banana pepper
  • 1/4 of a red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • enough oil for deep frying fish
  • salt to your taste
    Marinate and fry fish
  1. Cut tuna into large chunks (about 2 inches long cuboids) 

  2. Make the marinate with paprika or chili powder, black pepper, lime salt, and water. Add the fish pieces and mix to coat every piece with the marinade*. Be careful to do it gently as the fish pieces can break apart. Set it aside and let it marinate until you make the sauce and get the other ingredients ready. (about 10 - 15 mins)

  3. Heat enough oil to deep fry into a deep skillet. Wait until the oil is hot. Gently add fish pieces to the oil, and fry them until the edges start to turn golden and the fish is all the way cooked through*. Transfer fish to a paper towel-lined plate.

  4. Make the sauce (do it while fish is marinating)
  5. Add cornstarch and water to a small bowl. mix. And then add all the rest of the sauce ingredients which are ketchup, chili sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and salt. Mix and keep it aside.

  6. Making the devilled fish
  7. Crush ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle or chop them very finely.

  8. Cut banana peppers into rounds. Cut onion into large triangular pieces or rounds, and tomato into wedges.

  9. Heat a medium size wok or a saute pan. Add oil and let the oil heat up. Add cinnamon stick, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, and pandan leaves. Saute until the garlic starts to turn golden on the edges.

  10. Add chili flakes, chili paste*, and black pepper. Saute for about 10 seconds or until chili flakes turn dark red. 

  11. Add banana peppers and onions. Saute for another 10-15 seconds just mix it through. 

  12. Then move everything to a side and add the sauce. Let the sauce heat up. When the sauce is heated up, mix it with the vegetables. 

  13. Add fried fish pieces. Gently mix everything well to coat all the fish pieces with the sauce (make sure not to break your fish pieces.) Adjust salt if needed.

  14. Add tomatoes. Mix very lightly. You can serve the dish at this point*. Or proceed to the next step if you like to have more gravy.

  15. If you like more gravy:

    Add 1/2 cup of water and mix. Let the gravy heat up and when it starts to turn thick, turn off the heat. It will get thicker as it cools down. Do not simmer too long as it can overcook fish and vegetables.

  • use gloves when you mix fish with the marinade to protect your skin from chilies.
  • do not fry fish until they are golden brown on all sides. Fish cooks very quickly and overcooked fish can turn very rubbery, dry, and chewy. You only need to cook it until they're done and just started to turn golden on the edges.
  • Sri Lankan Chinese chili paste ( we just call it chili paste and I highly doubt that you'd find this in china) can be hard to ingredient. Malaysian crispy prawn chili or anchovy chili is identical to Sri Lankan chili paste.
  • I usually serve it dry when I pair it with another curry like my creamy potato curry or red lentil curry.
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