Zero Oil Sardine Fry
Prep time: 15 mins | Frying time: 25-30 mins on a very slow heat
- 7-8 big sardines * see notes
- large banana leaves cleaned and cut to size
For the masala/marinade (makes more than required for this recipe, refrigerate the rest)
- 30-45 long dried red chillies * see notes
- 1-1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1-1/2 teaspoon mustard
- 1-1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 10 flakes of garlic
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 2 marble sized balls of tamarind (adjust to taste)
- salt to taste (you may skip this in the ground marinade and apply it directly on the fish)
1. Descale and clean the fish in a few changes of water. Allow to drain on a colander. If you wish, apply the salt to the fish in which case, do not add salt to the marinade
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under ‘For the masala/marinade‘ to a smooth paste and marinate the cleaned sardines with this masala. Keep aside at least for 20-30 minutes to help the fish pull the spices.
3. Set a skillet on a medium high heat and place one piece of the banana leaf on it. Place the marinated fish over it, do not crowd the pan. Cover the fish with another banana leaf.
4. Reduce the heat completely and let the fish fry slowly – this could take a long time but its worth the patience. Around 10-12 minutes into frying time flip the whole packet using a large spatula and let the fish cook on the other side.
5. When done, serve hot with rice and curry of your choice.
1. Big sardines are roughly palm sized or the size of small Indian mackerels.
2. We used Kashmiri chillies, you may use a combination of Byadge & Kashmiri chillies, depending on the level of spice you prefer. Kashmiri chillies are lower on spice as compared to the Byadge variety.
3. The recipe for the marinade can be scaled down to approx 1/3rd of the quantity given if you wish to make a smaller batch but I doubt you will be able to grind such a small bunch of ingredients effectively. If you can, please go ahead.