Coastal communities in India like to serve their fish fried as well as curried. I am particularly fond of the way it is done in Kerala and Bengal. But of course the variety of fish makes a huge difference. Although we are able to get more imported fish from South Asia in the UK these days I thought it would be good to experiment with locally available varieties. Here I bring you a recipe for fried sprats, adapted from the Keralan recipe for fried Karimeen. This is a wonderfully cheap and tasty dish that is ready in minutes. Enjoy!
I happened to spot these on the fish counter at my local supermarket and was pleasantly surprised by how very fresh they were. The man on duty vouched for that and said they had indeed been delivered shortly before I bought them. I was very excited by the thought of cooking fish that cost only £3 kilo and wanted to spread the word!
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
You will need:
- 500 g of fresh sprats (any fish do for this recipe but if a large fish, cut into steaks and if a medium fish like bass or mackerel, fry whole but increase the time proportionately)
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp freshly prepared garlic and ginger paste; add a green chili to the paste if you can take the heat
- 1/2 – 1 tsp chilli powder
- Juice of half a lime
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- Cooking oil for frying
Mix all of the ingredients together and marinate the fish in the mix for about five minutes. Meanwhile, heat enough oil in a wok to shallow fry the fish. Fry the fish in small batches of 5-6 fish on high heat at first and then turning to medium heat after the first five minutes. Turn once, but avoid stirring as the fish tends to break up easily if its a soft fleshed variety. The fish should have a deep golden colour when you take it out of the wok. Place on a kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil. Continue frying until the all the fish is used up. Serve when it has cooled down a little bit as it will become crunchy and that is how is should be eaten. If it is not crunchy and has a soggy feel to it, refry in the same oil on medium heat for another few minutes. Serve with rice and your favourite daal and sabzi.