Mathi meen Varuval is a mouthwatering South Indian style spicy fried sardine fish fry prepared by shallow frying sardines marinated in a spicy Indian masala often served with rice.
What fish is Mathi ?
Mathi meen is sardine is said to be one of the best fish variety and easy to find in India.
sardine fish or Mathi meen or sardines are small oily fish which is highly nutritious and it is a good source of vitamin B12, selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids.
This Mathi meen varuval is one of the easiest fish fry recipe, pan fried in coconut oil on a bed of curry leaves.
Can I eat Mathi Meen / sardines bones ?
sardines skin and bones are completely edible, and are also a good supply a good amount of sardines’ calcium content, The sardine bones are very soft some may not even notice them.
How to clean Mathi Meen / sardine fish ?
To Clean the sardines or Mathi meen Rub gently the skin with a small knife to remove any scales . Then cut open the belly of the fish using the same small knife and carefully run your finger along the spine to push out the bloody guts. wash them under cold running water until clean and they will be ready to cook.
Are Mathi Meen / sardines healthy ?
Sardines or Mathi Meen provide about 2 grams of heart-healthy omega-3s per 3 ounce serving, which is one of the highest levels of omega-3 and is said to have the lowest levels of mercury in comparison to any other fish.
They are also a a great source of calcium and Vitamin D, so they are excellent to support bone health.
Check out other seafood recipes on the blog,
- Tamilnadu Meen Kuzhambu (without coconut)
- Prawn Moilee
- Salmon Fish Curry
- Prawn Masala
- Prawns Thokku – Eral Thokku
- Tuna Fish Cutlets ( Meen Cutlet)
How to cook small fish like Mathi Meen / Sardines ?
Cooking small fish can be tricky as they are delicate and if the size is too small you may not even require to gut them out (Like in case of anchovies), for sardine, you pan fry them.
Do take care while pan frying as they sometimes get stuck to the pan, so adding curry leaves or some sliced onions prevent that from happening.
Ingredients to make Mathi Meen Varuval
- 5-6 Medium sized Sardine Fish
- 1.5 tbsp Red chilli powder
- Kashmiri Red chilli powder – 1/2 tbsp
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
- Lemon juice – 1/2
- 1-2 tbsp Water
- 2-3 tbsp Coconut oil
- 5-6 no.s Curry leaves
Clean the fish pieces, remove the head and the insides and keep it aside.
Prepare ginger garlic paste if not using store bought one.
- Using coconut oil is a personal preference as it adds a wonderful flavour when fried, if you don’t like it you can switch to any neutral flavoured oil.
- Remember this is a Spicy fish fry, so turn on your exhaust fans and keep your kitchen windows open.
- If you don’t have access to Kashmiri Red chilli powder, you can replace it with paprika to add a bright red colour without adding too much spiciness.
Take a wide plate, add in the spice powders mentioned in ‘to marinate’ and mx it with little water at a time and make into a thick paste not too runny not too thick. It should be soft enough to be able to spread on the fish.
Apply the prepared fish masala on the outside of the fish and let it be fully covered, add some masala on the inside as well.
Let it sit in the fridge and marinate for at least 10-15 minutes. Longer the better flavour.
To Fry the Fish
Heat a cast iron pan or a non stick pan, add coconut oil and allow it to become hot, add the curry leaves to infuse some flavour into the oil. ( be careful the curry leaves will sputter when added to hot oil.
Add the marinated fish one by one and let it cook on medium flame for about 5-7 mins on one side.
Then gently flip it over to the other side and let to cook for another 5-7 minutes on medium flame.
When the fish is done, the masala would have roasted well.
Remove the fish on to a plate and serve with rice, Check out easy Tomato Pepper rasam recipe on the blog.
How long can you keep fried fish in the refrigerator
This fish fry can be fried ahead and stored in the refrigerator, just reheat in microwave before use for unto 2 -3 days maximum.
If you wish you can prepare and marinate the fish over night to be fried the next day too.
Alternate versions – What are the healthiest fish to eat ?
You can use any kind of fish in this recipe, just adjust the cooking time, based on the size of the cut or the fish.
Some of the other options are as below,
- Rohu (Rohu or Carpo Fish) …
- Bangda (Indian Mackerel) …
- Rani (Pink Pearch) …
- Surmai (King Fish/Seer Fish) …
- Pomfret. …
- Hilsa. …
- Kekda (Crab) Kekda is not a fish but is a very healthy seafood. …
- Jhinga (Prawns and Shrimps)