1) Clean the fish remove the waste from its belly, cut its fin in a nice shape, so that it looks good when presented.
2) Rub the fish on rough surface (on a cutting board) with salt and clean inside out.
3) Wash with clean water and soak them in lemon juice to get rid of the any bad smell of the fish.
4) After half an hour, take the fish out of the lemon juice and wash in clean water.
5) Make slits through the fish diagonally.
For preparing the masala:
1) Mix black pepper powder, red chili powder, ginger/garlic paste, cumin powder, salt, Lemon Juice and turmeric powder into a coarse paste.
2) Rub it all over the fish inside out.
3) Stuff the curry leaves on to the fish and refrigerate it for about half an hour for the masala to absorb into the fish.
4) Take out the fish, remove the curry leaf which was stuffed outside and fry in coconut/veg/olive oil on both sides, until it turns dark brown.