I was thinking about those good old days when my ammoomma would buy fresh fish from the market and preferably the ones her grand kids love to eat. She has a chart set in her mind about which grand child likes which fish. And she will be sending out my appooppan to search for each of them in the market until he finds some. I prefered anchovies, tuna, prawn, cuttle fish etc. These were rare to find everyday. My brother and cousins would eat any fish in any form but I was very specific about the fish, the preparation and the crispiness if it is a fry.Then and even now,I hate fish bones. And at grandma’s place, my wishes would be served first without any hesitation.
Anchovies are called Netholi in Trivandrum. Ammumma used to make crispy crispy netholi varuthath for me. I used to eat them straight away from the oil strainer. They were so tasty as such even without any rice.
The sad part is, we do not get fresh Netholi here anywhere. I have some dried anchovies in the fridge which comes in handy when the cravings are too much. I prepare this fry the same way we used to prepare the fresh one at home. So, this is how it is done.
- Dried anchovies/ netholi- 1 cup.
- Salt to taste
- Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
- Coriander powder-1/4 tsp
- Chilli powder-1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves- a bunch
- Lime juice/ Vinegar- 5 drops(optional)
- Oil for frying.
- Soak the dried Anchovies in water for 20 minutes.
- Remove the head part and make sure you remove the black dirt completely. I have found the fish taste bitter if any dirt is left after cleaning.
- Some dried fish has salt added in it already. Consider that before adding salt.
- Marinate the dried fish with all the ingredients except oil. Keep it aside for minimum ten minutes.
- Pour some oil into a hot pan and shallow fry the fish on both sides until crisp.
- Eat it straight away or serve with some brown rice. Either way, you will love them.
While I was taking the picture, my darling little one could not resist herself from taking few more fried fish from the serving plate. I tried so much, but she could not stop. So, here is that picture with her tiny curious face!