Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils

4.64 from 19 votes
1 hour
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Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils is a healthful and flavorful way to spice up a date night dinner!  Serve Roasted Curry Cauliflower Wedges with Cilantro Chutney on the side!

Photo of Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils on blue background with deep blue napkin garnished with cilantro sprigs.

The inspiration behind this recipe:

Although January has 31 days just like a number of other months, it always seems longer than that to me.  It’s cold, dark and dreary.  Besides dealing with January weather, we’re all trying to eat healthier and plan for the year that lies before us.  Sometimes it feels as though January will never end!

I wanted to take a break from all that!  Something exotic and colorful like this Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils was in order!

How to make Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils:

  • First, get the lentils going.  Red lentils, also referred to as pink lentils or masoor dal, cook much faster than brown or green lentils.  Besides the fact they cook faster, I love red lentils because they cook to a soft, almost sauce-like consistency that pairs well with a simply-prepared protein such as this fish.
  • While you could certainly make your own curry powder blend for the lentils, I use a good quality blend from a local Indian grocery store.

Photo of red lentils cooking being cooked and stirred in pot.

  • Then, cook the fish.  Combine all the spices for the fish in a small bowl.  This combination packs a real flavor punch:  They include:
    • Hungarian paprika
    • Ground cumin
    • Ground coriander
    • Ground turmeric
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Hungarian paprika is more pungent than regular sweet paprika.  It’s available in any grocery store, however, if you can’t find it or don’t wish to buy it, use sweet paprika and just add a little more cayenne.

Photo of curry spice blend in copper bowl.

  • Almost any fish will work with this dish such as salmon, trout, grouper, cod, etc.  I used barramundi which is an Asian sea bass but Chilean will also work.
  • Encrust the fish with a generous amount of the spice blend.  Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, then add the fish and brown it well on both sides.  Place it in the oven to finish cooking.

Photo of sea bass in cast iron skillet after being seared.

That’s it!  This dish is amazing as is, but a cooling raita or a dollop or two of yogurt is a lovely addition!

Photo of Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils in bowl with fork, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.

Close-up photo of one serving of Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils with cilantro sprig and lime wedge.

Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils!

Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs, add a little bit of yogurt if desired and you’ll forget all about the long month of January!

Photo of one serving of Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils in bowl with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.

Be sure to check out some of my other delicious Indian-inspired meals!

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Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils in black bowl with fork, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.

Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils

4.64 from 19 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef's Kitchen
Indian Spiced Sea Bass with Braised Red Lentils is a healthful way to spice up a date night dinner!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Fish and Seafood
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2
Calories 539 kcal



  • 2 tablespoons canola oil - or coconut oil
  • 1/2 large onion - finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot - finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper - chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder - hot or mild
  • 2 plum tomatoes - seeded and chopped
  • 2-3 cups vegetable broth - or chicken broth (as needed)
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro - plus more for garnish
  • Lime wedges - optional
  • Plain yogurt - optional


  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (6-8 ounce) sea bass fillets - skinned
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil - or coconut oil



  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook 3-4 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add carrot and red bell pepper. Continue to cook 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.
  • Add garlic, ginger and curry powder, stir several times and cook briefly or until fragrant (no longer than 30 seconds or these can burn). Add tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add lentils, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered 20 minutes or until lentils are very tender, adding more vegetable broth if needed. Add vinegar then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in cilantro and serve with fish.


  • Prepare fish while the lentils cook. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper and salt on a plate. Coat fish fillets well on all sides.
  • Heat oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes or to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and fish easily flakes with a fork.
  • Serve over lentils with lime wedges, plain yogurt and garnished with cilantro sprigs.


MAKE AHEAD:  The lentils can be made 1 day ahead of time.  Refrigerate then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 539kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 2145mg | Potassium: 1298mg | Fiber: 28g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 9316IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 10mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.64 from 19 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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