Try this fragrant mackerel dish, then check out our Spanish mackerel, smoked mackerel and more mackerel recipes.


  • 2 mackerels, whole, cleaned and gutted (or use 4 fillets)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon, ½ sliced, ½ cut into wedges
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1tbsp tamarind paste
  • roti or chapati, natural yogurt and coriander leaves, to serve


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Score the mackerel on both sides a few times with a sharp knife. Whisk together ½ tbsp of garam masala, some seasoning and 1 tbsp of oil. Brush this over the mackerel, rubbing it into the score lines and cavity, or over the fillets. Arrange the lemon slices over a foil-lined baking tray and put the fish on top, then leave to marinate for 10 minutes. Season with sea salt.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, heat the remaining ½ tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic, ginger, cumin and chilli, and fry for a few minutes until fragrant. Tip in the tomatoes, then rinse out the tin with 200ml of water and add this as well. Simmer for 10 minutes until just thickened.

  • STEP 3

    Transfer the mackerel to the oven and roast for 10 minutes if you’re using fillets or 15-20 minutes for a whole fish – the flesh should flake away from the bones and the skin will be lightly crisp when the fish is ready.

  • STEP 4

    Stir the chickpeas into the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the tamarind to taste and the remaining garam masala. Serve the mackerel over the tamarind chickpeas alongside some roti or chapati and yogurt, with coriander sprinkled over.

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Anna Glover profile
Anna GloverSenior food editor

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