Friday, December 6, 2013

Nethili Meen Varuval | Anchovies Fry Recipe

Time to share the weekend special non vegetarian recipe… this time it is not chicken or prawns. Its Anchovies, in tamil we call it has Nethili Meen. These are small sized fish and they are sun dried generally to store for a long period. In India, people used to sundry these anchovies during the summer days and make use of it in the winters. Usually they add lots of salt to the anchovies. Hence it can be preserved for long days without any preservatives. Sun drying helps to take out the moisture from it, so it never gets spoilt easily.

For the first time I saw this anchovies in a Vietnamese shop and I quickly grabbed ones and tried on a week day. Amma always used to make this on a week day since weekends are meant only for fish and prawns. Being a non vegetarian it is always fun to eat all these… *slurp*   

When u buy anchovies, make sure they are dried. Wet anchovies are not suitable for making this recipe. Wet ones are always good to make gravy and the dried once are for roasting. Make sure about the salt content before u add any by urs.  

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 15-20 mins


1 lb Anchovies/smelt/Nethili
 Salt (as needed)
1- 1 ½ tbsp Oil
1 ½ tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1-2 tsp coriander powder
1tsp turmeric powder

How to make it

  • I bought anchovies with heads. So I removed it one by one and washed.

  • Wash in running water twice and then add salt and start to rub on the surface. This helps to get rid of the sands or dirt to come out. Wash again in running water.

  • Add turmeric powder. This is to get rid of the stinky smell it has. Again wash twice or thrice. Drain off the water completely and set aside.

  • Add chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and mix well. The masalas should evenly coat the anchovies.

  • Keep aside for 15-20 mins. Then heat a skillet and add oil to it. Add the marinated anchovies to the hot oil. Blend it well.

  • After some time, check for salt. (See notes)
  • Slowly cook the anchovies and once it is cooked, raise the flame to medium-high and start to roast it well with no water and it turns golden with a crisp texture.

  1. Anchovies might cause allergic to certain people. Make sure you don’t have any before u start proceeding with the recipe.
  2. Always buy dried anchovies for making this recipe.
  3. Generally while drying the anchovies they add enough salt. So there is no need to add any extra salt. But the once which I got here doesn’t have any salt in it. So always make sure the content of salt in it and then add accordingly.
  4. Be generous in adding oil for roasting.
  5. Using iron skillet instead of the non-stick ones gives evenly colored and crispier anchovies.