Mathi Nirachathu / Kerala Style Stuffed Sardines

Pan-fried sardines stuffed with aromatic spices, canned fish, & coconut, this dish is an interpretation inspired by some of the predominant flavors of Kerala!


Sardines/mackerels – 1/2 kg
Tin fish-1 can
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Onion-2, (1 finely chopped and the other thinly sliced)
Green chilies -2, finely chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder -1 tsp
Pepper powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
Coconut milk- 5 tbsp
Grated coconut-3 tbsp
Egg – 1
Curry leaves- A sprig
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Salt – To taste
Oil- As needed

Method: Clean and wash the sardines.  In a small bowl, mix together half of the spice powders- turmeric powder, pepper powder, red chili powder, 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of oil, and salt into a smooth paste. Marinate the fish with the prepared paste and leave it aside for 15-20 mins.

Heat oil in a pan. Splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the ginger-garlic paste and chopped green chilies. Fry for 1 min until the raw smell goes away. Add the chopped onions and saute until golden brown. Add the remaining spice powders-turmeric powder, chili powder, pepper powder, cumin powder, and salt. To this add the canned fish and lemon juice and mix well. Cook on medium flame. Add the coconut milk and mix again. Cook until the gravy thickens. Add the grated coconut and mix well. Whisk the egg and add it to the fish mixture and mix until well combined. Saute until the water has completely evaporated. Remove from flame. Add this filling into the opening of the marinated fish. Press the edges of opening tightly together so that the filling stays inside. Heat oil in a pan. Sprinkle some curry leaves. Add the sliced onions and saute until golden. Place the fish on top of the onions and sprinkle more curry leaves on top of the fish. Cook until the fish is fried on one side and then flip to the other side. Cook until the skin turns dark brown and the fish is cooked. Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot with steamed rice & enjoy!




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