sour sardine curry

On one of my monthly visits to the fish markets I came across the freshest sardines. Without a clue what I was going to make with them, I couldn’t resist buying them on the spot. (Sardines contain high levels of omega 3, selenium, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.)

I typed ‘sardine recipes’ into a search engine on my phone – yes, even chefs need inspiration from time to time – and the one that stood out was a sour sardine curry. After a brief ponder, I remembered eating something similar in a fine Indian restaurant, so I thought, why not have a go at home? Wow, is all I can say, this recipe certainly packs a punch.

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil duck fat, tallow or other good quality fat
  • 12 curry leaves
  • sea salt Himalayan salt
  • 4 Asian eggplants chopped into large pieces
  • 250 g cauliflower (florets only)
  • 16 okra cut into large pieces
  • 20 whole sardines cleaned coriander chopped, to garnish

Masala Paste

  • 6 dried chillies
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 small onions chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp
  • To make the masala paste, place all the ingredients except the onion and tamarind pulp in a large mortar and grind with a pestle until you have a fine powder. Add the onion and tamarind pulp and continue grinding until it becomes a paste. Transfer the paste to small bowl. Rinse the mortar with 800 ml of water and reserve the water.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. Add the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds, or until fragrant. Add the masala paste and reserved masala water and season with salt. Add the eggplant, cauliflower and okra and bring to the boil.
  • One at a time, gently lower the sardines into the hot sauce. Cover and cook for 7–10 minutes, or until the sardines are just cooked. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle over the chopped coriander and serve.

NOTE: Asian eggplants are longer and thinner than regular eggplants. They can be found at Asian supermarkets and some supermarkets. If you can’t find any, regular eggplant will be fine.

Per Serving
  • CALORIES: 384
  • CARBS: 57g
  • FATS: 14g
  • PROTEIN: 15g


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