Nethili Meen Varuval is a simple spicy fish fry, made by deep frying spice mixture coated fish pieces. Deep-fried Nethili is a favorite in my house. The nicely-sized smelt (they were significantly larger than usual) I saw at the Asian supermarket today awakened a desire for some crispy smelt fish.
Kelso, Washington along the Columbia River in the Northwestern United States is listed as the "Smelt Capital of the World".
List of ingredients :
- 20 to 25 Smelt
- 2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Clean and wash the fish. Marinate the fish with red chilli powder, salt and turmeric for an hour.
- In a kadai/pan heat oil for deep frying.Slip the marinated smelt into the hot oil. Leave it for a while until brown for 2 to 3 minutes or until the crackling sound subsidies in the oil. Fry the fish in small batches. Place on absorbent paper towel to remove excess oil.
Serve with some lime /lemon juice.
Tips: To clean~ First, remove head by pulling and the guts will also be removed as well. Wash, strain and set aside. The oil has to be hot enough- and the most vital point is that it must be really hot. The idea is to seal the fish in the hot oil on both sides otherwise – it is only when the oil isn’t hot enough that fried fish tastes oily and is soft.
I have used Smelt in the above recipe. Anchovies/Nethili has a strong flavor and I prefer Smelt.