This Indian Spiced Salmon recipe is incredibly fast on the stove-top and is monumentally flavorful. The simple addition of vindaloo masala and salt to a salmon fillet creates a mouthwatering keto fried fish recipe for easy weekday meals.
This keto salmon recipe is made stove-top in my favorite cast iron skillet. Of course, it can be made in any pan, but I love the way a cast iron skillet cooks so evenly. What I like most about making this dish on the stove top, is that the fish gets a lovely crisp herb crust on the top. The masala gets slightly caramelized and is one of the best things about it. And, don’t get me started about that crispy salmon skin!
As soon as the fish is flipped and the masala gets toasted in the pan (I like to cook it in ghee), your house won’t smell fishy at all (at least I don’t notice it in mine) – just like intense, aromatic herbs. You’re mouth will be watering before it hits the table.
I like to serve this on my Homemade Cauliflower Rice, or alongside my Herb Roasted Rutabagas, Roasted Carrots with Fenugreek or a Kale BLT Salad. Try adding a drizzle of Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing – it’s one of the most versatile sauces you can have in your fridge!
Why you’ll love this Indian salmon recipe
- It’s a quick, easy and healthy main course
- Salmon is a perfect protein for those following a low-carb, keto, paleo, Whole30 or low-FODMAP diet
- These fragrant Indian spices have serious flavor and pair well with just about any side dish
- Wild salmon provides heart-healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids) that boost heart and brain health and reduce inflammation
- This recipe is so versatile – use this dish for easy weekday meal prep for lunches or weeknight dinners.
- It’s delicious!! Really, it’s so, so good.
It only takes a few ingredients to get this spicey salmon recipe on the table in hardly any time at all:
- Salmon fillet or steaks – I like to use fillets for this recipe, but steaks work well, too
- Vindaloo masala – you can use your masala blend of choice, such as garam or tikka. Curry also works well.
- Ghee or olive oil for frying – I adore the flavor of ghee with these spices and fish
- Salt – I always use kala namak black salt because of its superior flavor profile, especially with Indian recipes. You can also use any culinary salt you have on hand. To learn more about my favorite salt ever, you can read more in my Kala Namak Ingredient Spotlight.
Here are some simple instructions to make a perfect Indian spiced salmon dinner:
- Melt the ghee or heat the olive oil in a large skillet
- Put the fish in, skin side down and season the fillet with the masala and salt
- Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, depending on the size of your fillet or steak
- Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. The seasoned side should have crisp coating of spices.
TIP: Cooking time depends on the thickness of your fillet or steak. You can tell when it’s done when the fish flakes easily with a fork. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temp at the thickest part of the fillet should read 145F.
Where to buy salmon
A few times a year, we’ll venture out to our beautiful Columbia River Gorge and buy a whole Chinook salmon from the local Native American tribes in Cascade Locks. They’re always fresh-caught and absolutely gorgeous. We bring home everything but the fins. When we pick up our next fish, my hope is to do an entire post on how to use the whole fish. No waste here! We bring the partially butchered fish home on ice and cut it into fillets that last for months in the freezer. Nothing beats the flavor of super fresh fish, even if it’s been vacuum sealed and frozen for a few months.
You can look for fresh, wild-caught salmon at your local grocery store or seafood market. I always look for wild-caught salmon over farmed salmon, as it is better nutritionally and full of flavor. It has a richer flavor, color and higher omega-3 fatty acid profile.
Salmon steak vs fillet
A salmon steak is cut across the spine in various thicknesses, so you’ll see the circle of the spine in the center, and two ‘wings’ coming downward where the fish organs were removed. A fillet cut is a piece cut from the side of the fish, where the fish is cut from head to tail along the spine and your serving is cut from the side of the fish. Both are great cuts. Fillets tend to have a whole side with the skin still on it, where steaks have skin just along the outer edge.
Personally, I tend to like using fillets for pan-frying or baking, but you can use whatever cut you would like. I like fillets because I can start frying the fish skin side down and let it get crispy before I flip. Some folks like crispy salmon skin – if you’re one of them, this recipe is for you! The flavor will knock your socks off.
If you only have steaks, no worries at all. Even though I prefer them for grilling, they’ll cook up to perfection in a pan, as well.
How to choose the best salmon fillet
There are a few things I look for when purchasing salmon:
- Purchase a fillet with the skin on, if possible. It adds more flavor to the fish and allows additional cooking time on that side without making the fish tough. And, if you like crispy skin, then you get an extra treat.
- If you buy it packaged, be sure the packaging is air-tight, without any liquid in the bottom of the tray. If it does have additional liquid, dry the fillet before adding it to the pan so the fish stays firm and doesn’t end up steaming and becoming mushy.
- Check the color. Wild-caught salmon is much more orange in color than farm-raised. It should be a bright orange-coral color. Older wild salmon and farm-raised will be more pale.
- Notice the smell. Fresh salmon barely has a fishy odor at all (if any). If your fish smells strongly fishy or has a pungent odor, that typically means it is old or has been temperature compromised.
- Do the finger-press test for freshness. If you press lightly in the center of the fillet, the flesh should bounce back rather than leaving a permanent indentation.
Types of masala
Did you know there are at several kinds of masala? I keep some Vindaloo, Tikka and Garam masala powders around at all times. The flavor profile of each of these is a bit different. Garam tends to carry the least heat, while Vinaloo tends to be the spiciest.
Many masalas contain garlic or onion and aren’t particularly FODMAP friendly. I LOVE the masalas from The Reluctant Trading Experiment because not only are they amazingly good, they don’t contain onion or garlic. I found their spices available at one of my favorite local restaurants, Bollywood Theater, and have used their masalas and chai exclusively for many years. They use the highest quality, authentic spices, which really makes all the difference.
Personally, I like this dish to have a little bit of heat, so I opt for Vindaloo as an alternative to garam masala. I love the way the salt and spices form a nice crust on the fish. It’s my favorite part!
Keep in mind, when the spices are sautéed in ghee or oil, the heat of the Vindaloo spice will die down just a bit. You’re left with toasted, aromatic herbs in a slight toasty crust. I like to use Kala Namak black salt to season my fillet. Kala Namak black salt (aka Indian Black Salt) is a very earthy salt that is used often in Indian cuisine and is one of my favorite salts – I put it on almost everything! Read more about Kala Namak.
Is masala low-FODMAP?
Yes! Typically, masalas are great low-FODMAP spice blends. But, make sure to read the ingredients to be sure they’re garlic and onion free. The masalas I purchase from Reluctant Trading are all FODMAP-friendly, so you can feel good about adding this to your list of low-FODMAP fish recipes!
Keep in mind that some ingredients like chili pepper can aggravate IBS symptoms in some people.
Is salmon low-FODMAP?
Since fish is a protein, it is free of FODMAPs, making salmon a FODMAP-friendly addition to any meal.
How to store
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
This low-carb recipe for salmon is so healthy, and something your family or dinner guests won’t soon forget.
Other recipes you might like
- Olive Balsamic Turkey Thighs
- Crème Fraiche Dressing with Preserved Lemon Paste
- Low-FODMAP Salsa Verde with Tomatillos (Green Salsa)
- Pineapple Habanero Sauce
- Stuffed Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms
- Keto Corned Beef Meatballs with Horseradish Mustard Sauce
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Indian Spiced Salmon Recipe
- 1 Wild salmon fillet (or steaks – any size)
- 2 teaspoons Vindaloo masala (or masala blend of choice)
- 2 tablespoons Ghee (or olive oil for the pan)
- ¼ teaspoon Kala Namak black salt (kosher or fleur de sel work well, also)
- In a pan large enough to fit the fish, on medium heat, add olive oil, or melt 1-2 tablespoons of ghee. If using a fillet, put the fish in skin-side down. For steaks, it won't matter – either side is fine!
- I typically only season one side of the fish. After placing the fillet (or steak) in the pan, I season the top at that time.
- Sprinkle the top with kala namak salt (or other salt if using). Then sprinkle generously with the masala.
- After 4-5 minutes depending on thickness of your fillet, flip the fish and cook for another 4-5 minutes. When finished cooking, the seasoned side should have a nice, crisp coating of spices.
Notes about cooking timeCooking time will vary based on the thickness of your fish. At this stage, I will often give the fish another minute or two on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 145 °F degrees when inserted in the thickest part of the fish. Typically, salmon is done when the fish flakes easily with a fork.
*Net carbs = carbohydrates – fiber
Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools and does not include optional ingredients unless otherwise indicated.
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