Spicy Mathi Masala: A Flavorful Twist to Kerala Fish Fry

Kerala’s culinary landscape is synonymous with fish delicacies, with sardines, locally known as mathi, occupying a cherished place on dining tables. Whether relished as fiery sardine curry or crisply fried, mathi holds a special allure for many. Elevate your dining experience with this delectable sardine masala recipe that perfectly complements any meal.


Sardines (cleaned and scored)

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tbsp coriander powder

½ tbsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

2 tbsp vinegar

Crushed peppercorns

Water (as needed)

Coconut oil (for frying and cooking)

Handful of chopped shallots

Chopped garlic


In a bowl, combine chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, vinegar, crushed peppercorns, and some water to form a marinade.

Thoroughly coat the cleaned sardines with this marinade, ensuring they are well-covered. Reserve some marinade for later use.

Set aside the marinated sardines for at least an hour to absorb the flavors.

Heat coconut oil in a pan for frying.

Fry the marinated sardines until they turn golden brown and crispy. Set aside.

In another pan, heat coconut oil and sauté chopped shallots and garlic until they turn golden brown.

Add the remaining marinade paste to the pan and cook until the raw aroma dissipates and the oil starts to separate.

Pour in enough water to achieve the desired consistency for the masala.

Continue cooking until the masala thickens and the oil separates further.

Add the fried sardines to the masala mixture, ensuring they are evenly coated.

Gently mix the sardines with the masala until they are fully infused with the flavors.

Your tantalizing mathi masala is now ready to be served!

Indulge in the irresistible flavors of this spicy mathi masala, guaranteed to delight your taste buds and elevate your culinary experience to new heights.

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