Friday, March 18, 2011

Sardine Cleaning!

Cleaned Sardines Ready for Cooking
Full the Dorsal Fins to cut

Keep sardines in water before descaling

Cooking Sardines Indian Way 
Indian Sardines contain a good measure of heart-healthy omega-3. But most people avoid buying sardines for obvious reasons. Some find sardine cleaning a messy affair, some can't take the thorns in sardines, and many avoid buying this fish b'cos of its offensive smell.

Tips to buy Sardines

Avoid buying sardines that looks bruised, with torn belly or those having the guts falling out. These are tell tale signs of stale fish. Also, look out for the shine, and red gills. It's an indication of fresh sardines.

We buy Sardines from 'Sargar fish' stall or from 'NLP fish stall' at Domlur. In Bangalore, the price of Sardine vary from Rs 40/- to Rs 50/- ( in 2009). Now the price is hovering around 120 - 150.(2015) . We end up buying Indian Oil Sardine as it is affordable and for its taste.

How to Clean Sardines
Cleaning Sardines requires patience, and time. Most of the fish shops in Bangalore don't clean Sardines. If you request them to clean it , they retort back with a flat 'NO'. Few fish stalls like Frosty's or Sagar Fish stall clean Sardines, but they don't do a great job. After getting it home, you've to do you cleaning job. Most fish stalls chop the head portion while cleaning, but I like it with the head.

Here's my cleaning process:
  1. Put sardines in a vessel along with water
  2. Water softens the fish scales, making it easy to remove
  3. Take a sardine and place it on the cutting board
  4. Use knife to remove the scales on the body
  5. Remove scales from both sides and top
  6. Next pull out the gill cover with the hand
  7. Clean inside out and remove the intestine
  8. Use cleaning scissors to chop the fins and tail section
  9. Use running tap water to clean inside
  10. Use your fingers to clear the gut area
  11. Next put rock salt in a pan
  12. Then put the sardines and run it around
  13. This removes the strong fishy smell ( Do the last three steps for cleaning all fishes)
Cleaning Sardines with Kitchen Scissors

After inside out cleaning, use Rock Salt to remove the fish smell
Kerala Sardines Curry in Mud Vessel ( Mann Chatti)

Sardines curry made in traditional clay pot ( mann chatti)
Fish curry taste best when prepared in clay pot. But these days, it's a rarity. While making Kerala Fish curry, you can add drumsticks or tomatoes or unripe mangoes in sardine fish curry. Tomatoes in fish curry brings in tangy taste to the fish curry making it lip smacking. Often we fight at the dinner table for the tomato in the fish curry. What about you? Do you enjoy having the tomatoes in the fish curry?

Here's a recipe of typical Kerala sardine curry with drumsticks (Trivandrum fish curry recipe)

Seasonal taste of Sardines
During June, July months of the year, Sardines have oil deposit in its body. You can make it out while cleaning the Sardines. When you buy oily Sardines, clean it twice to remove extra oil from its body.

Tip to use man chatti ( Clay pot):
Soak the new clay pot overnight in water. It help to filter away the impurities and takes away the strong smell of mud. 

P.S: If you're looking to learn Kerala fish curry, I take fish curry lessons in Bangalore. I teach fish curry lessons which includes three to four varieties of Kerala dishes. ( Fish Molee, Meen Vattichathu, Red Fish Curry, Fish Fry). I have meen chatties (mut pot ) which you can buy. :)


Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Great piece Marina. We love sardines.

Marina said...

Same pinch. :)

harithafarms said...

Nicely written . Have you used Fish de scaler . Two models are available in market( As I have seen there may be others) . One is stainless steel like hair brush and another one like veg peeler with a collectore

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Knowledge Lab said...

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ambika naik said...

Where are you put up? I would be interested to learn the fish reciepes. . .

ambika naik said...

Please mail me the details at

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