Anchovy and sardine are highly recommended by the physicians for their low fat content and also to improve our good cholesterol. People with heart problems are suggested to consume these variety of fish without frying.
If you want to cherish the real taste of anchovy or any small fish then go for a gravy / kulambu rather than frying. That's my suggestion:)
This is a kind of curry prepared in my father's hometown. We can notice the lack of tamarind / tomato in this curry with a very little coconut oil. This nethili meen kulambu comes under a pathiya meen kulambu variety . It will be suggested not to use tamarind or tomato while under Tamil-medication.
I got this manjal aviyal recipe from my great grand mother. So I hope it is a very authentic one. She used to tell us that, they never had an opportunity to use abundant oil or powdered masalas. So they had to grind the turmeric freshly along with the masala which imparts a very attractive yellow color to this curry and hence the name 'nethili meen manjal aviyal' or simply 'manjal oothina meen kuzhambu'.
Here is my most favorite anchovy fish curry for you all.
Anchovy fish - 1 lb (1/2 kg)
unripe mango - 1 cup (chopped).
(If not available add 2 tomatoes chopped finely)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tbsp
coconut oil - 1 tsp
fennel (sombu) - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 2 sprig
green chillies - 3 (slit)
salt - 1 tsp (add to taste)
Coconut (shredded) - 1/2 cup
Shallot - 6
cumin - 1/2 tsp
black pepper - 1 tsp
green chilly - 5 (increase as per taste)
Wash and clean the anchovies to remove any sand or impurities.
Then remove or retain the head as per taste. (If you are frying them, then the head will taste great, for this curry we can remove them). Cut and remove the tail. Slit gently in the boneless side to remove the (greenish) digestive tract.
Wash once again.
Grind coconut, shallot, green chillies, black pepper, cumin together to a fine paste.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok. Fry the fennel seeds to red. Now add the curry leaves along with chopped mango and fry for a few seconds.
(If you can't get mango then add 2 chopped tomatoes)
Add 2 cups of water , turmeric powder , coriander powder, salt, ground masala and bring them to a boil.
Now add the cleaned nethili meen (anchovy fish) and stir only one time before it gets cooked. Spread a few slit green chillies and curry leaves over it. Reduce flame and cook covered.
DO NOT stir in between. Just shake the vessel gently to mix the masala with the fish.
Take off heat in 15 minutes.
Nethili meen aviyal is ready!
Serve over hot rice or along with any bread.