Mathi/Chaala Varuthathu / Mathi Fry / Sardines Fry – Kerala Style

Recipe of the week 🙂

Sardines/ mathi/ Chaala is a popular and favorite fish of Malayalees. It’s really very hard to get fresh mathi/ sardines in US, we mostly get frozen or canned sardines.

This sardines fish is very popular in Kerala and fresh fish is sold door to door each morning. This small, silver colored fish are a great source of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, phosphorus and supports cardiovascular health. It also reduces blood sugar level, which are very important for all age groups.

This recipe can be considered as a side dish for lunch. Very few ingredients are used to make this delicious recipe. Try this recipe at your home and let me know your comments.:-)

Mathi/Chaala Varuthathu / Mathi Fry / Sardines Fry – Kerala Style

Prep time              : 30 minutes
Cooking time       : 15 minutes
Total time            : 45 minutes

Servings      : 2-3

Category     : Side dish
Cuisine       : South Indian, Kerala


5-6 Sardines / mathi/ Chaala
3/4 Teaspoon turmeric powder
2 Heaped teaspoons red chili powder (use it according to your spice tolerance)
1 Teaspoon black pepper powder
1 Teaspoon lemon juice
Coconut oil for shallow frying
Curry leaves
Salt to taste


  • Wash, clean (remove all internal organs and preferably remove the head and the tail) and pat dry the cleaned fish using the kitchen tissues.
  • Make oblique gashes on both sides of the fish.
  • Make a paste of all ingredients using bit of water. Apply the paste on the fish and make sure to rub the paste inside the fish’s gashes.
  • Marinate the pieces and keep it aside for 20 minutes.
Mathi/Chaala Varuthathu / Mathi Fry / Sardines Fry – Kerala Style


  • Heat coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan and add curry leaves.
  • Now add fish, shallow fry the fish on medium to low heat.
  • Flip the fish pieces carefully after 6-8 minutes. Pour little bit of oil over all the fish pieces and reduce the flame low, fry for another 6 minutes.
  • Once crisp, remove it from flame and transfer it to a paper towel.

Serve hot with rice or chapati.



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