I know. Golden anchovies are nothing but our humble little cheap fish called Mandeli
! I didn’t know how else to explain to non-Indians what a Mandeli is. In my quest to find the correct English name for Mandeli, I found ‘Goldfish’ (a term which almost made me want to stay off the fish for ever!), and a scientific name ‘Coilia dussumieri’. Twists your tongue, doesn’t it?
Fish prices have soared sky high these days. A pair of 6 inch long pomfrets costs 500 bucks. Mackerel 100 bucks each! My husband went out to buy some fish today, and came back horrified. He showed me the mandeli he’d bought. They looked fresh, firm and with lovely little orange-silver streaks down their backs. I love mandeli. It’s just that the bite-sized fish are just too small to clean easily. They take up all of your time to get cleaned. It gets on your nerve sometimes. But taste-wise they are really super. There is no need to de-bone them. Just pick up one by its tail and pop it in your mouth. Small enough to qualify as a snack.
I have fried these fish many time before. This time, I just did it in a different way. I found the result extremely tasty. Although there is no need to prepare mandeli this way, I think the method that was used, made the flesh cook faster, and it was crispier too. The butter yielded a buttery heavenly taste to the fish. God bless the person who invented butter. He was a genius!
- 20 Golden Anchovies (Mandeli)
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2-3 tsp red chilli powder (depending upon how hot you like it)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp oil
- 4 tbsp semolina (rava)
- 1 tbsp rice flour
Having cleaned the fish well before-hand, dry each fish separately and completely on kitchen towels. This does make them a little sticky but that’s okay. Keep the dried fish aside.
Now spread a large square of cling film (or foil) on the kitchen platform. Put all the fish in the center. Season with the turmeric, red chilli powder, lemon juice and salt and rub all the spices in for a minute. Quickly bring together the corners of the cling film and cover all the fish together. Keep them this way for 15 to 30 minutes. (The fish were so well marinated in only half an hour, it felt as though I had marinated them for over 8 hours. It may be my imagination, but they tasted better.)
Mix together the semolina and rice flour. Heat the butter with oil in a flat griddle or a saucepan. Stir once. You don’t want the butter to burn. Quickly roll each fish in the semolina-rice flour mixture and place them on the griddle side by side. Don’t crowd the fish. Fry on medium heat for about five minutes on each side, and your gloriously crispy, buttery Golden Anchovies are ready for the taking.
Serve hot, hot, hot!!!