Picture of Thalassery Style Sardine Fry
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Thalassery Style Sardine Fry

Thalassery style sardine fry involves slow-cooking the fish by frying in a base of grated coconut, rice flour, dry chillies, ginger, and curry leaves.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Kerala
Keyword: fish fry
Servings: 6 people


  • 400 grams sardines approx 15 medium sized
  • 7 dry kashmiri chillies
  • 7 shallots medium sized
  • 2 green chillies medium sized
  • 1 inch ginger piece
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • salt as required
  • coconut oil for frying
  • coconut milk optional


  • Soak the Kashmiri chillies in lukewarm water for 10 minutes.
    Thalassery Style Sardine Fry Steps - Preparing the ingredients
  • Drain the water and keep it aside.
  • Pulse the Kashmiri chillies in a blender.
  • Add the green chillies, shallots, ginger, curry leaves, salt, and blitz again.
  • Now add the grated coconut, and rice flour, and grind to a thick paste.
  • You can add water, that was kept aside, as required while grinding with the grated coconut.
  • Add more salt if required
  • This is our marinade and it also forms the fish fry base.
  • Clean and score the sardines.
  • If the marinade is too thick, add some water (or coconut milk for an even better result).
  • Coat the sardines with the marinade.
    Thalassery Style Sardine Fry Steps - Sardines coated with marinade
  • Heat some coconut oil in a pan. A cast iron pan works well.
  • There should be enough oil to cover half the height of sardines when placed.
  • Once the oil is hot, reduce to a low flame. We don't want the fish to be crispy fried.
  • Gently place the sardines. You will have to fry them in batches (unless you have a big pan).
    Thalassery Style Sardine Fry Steps - Sardines are placed on the frying pan
  • Add some extra marinade also in the gaps between the sardines in the pan.
    Thalassery Style Sardine Fry Steps - Extra marinade added to the pan
  • Slow fry for 5 minutes. Turn over the sardines and fry the other side as well.
    Thalassery Style Sardine Fry Steps - Fry on both sides
  • Take them out of the pan using a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving plate.
  • You can use paper towels to soak up some of the extra oil.
  • Fry the marinade in the pan for a couple more minutes and extract them too.
  • Repeat for the remaining sardines.
  • If there is any marinade remaining, fry that too in the pan and add it to the top of the fried sardines.
  • Serve hot. Tastes great with rice and curry.