Spicy Kerala mathi fry / mathi varuthath / sardine fry

Prepration time: 15 Minutes
Persons served: 3 Persons
Cuisine: Kerala


  • Cleaned sardine fish : 6 nos
  • Black pepper powder : 3 tsp
  • Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
  • Red chilly powder : 1 tsp
  • Salt : as needed
  • Curry leaves : 1 sprig
  • Coconut oil : 2-3 tbsp

Sardine ( locally known as Mathi or Chaala in Kerala), is one the cheapest and tastiest fish available in South India. Sardines are one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which reduces your triglycerides and cholesterol. The small bones of Sardine is good resource of calcium. Keralites usually make sardine curry, mathi vattichatu or fry with sardines. Today I will share you the recipes for sardine fry. This is a recipe our driver shared with me. He is from Alappuzha a coastal region in Kerala.

Sardine / mathi fry

  1. Clean the sardines well and make oblique gashes on both sides of the fish.
  2. Grind all other ingredients (Black pepper powder, Turmeric powder, Red chilly powder, Salt)
    into a paste form
  3. Marinate the mathi fish with this paste and keep it aside for half an hour.
  4. Heat a frying pan and pour some oil in it. Add the curry leaves.
  5. When the oil gets heated place the sardines over the curry leaves and fry it on medium heat turning them to the other side in between.
  6. Switch off and serve immediately with rice.


  • Cleaning sardines takes time and need patience. Use an apron while cleaning sardine and wash your hands with soap multiple times after cleaning sardines because they are having a stinky smell.
  • Frying sardine can make veggies go mad with you because it has an extreme strong smell. Careful when you fry sardines, they have a bad reputation for its stink.
Cini P Moideen

How would you rate this recipe?

81 votes, 4.24 / 5.00 (84%)
  • D

    Mathi etra ondakiyaalum mathiavoola :). Adding garlic and onion will add to the taste .

  • N

    Crispy, crunchy fry …what is not to love about it? 🙂
    Lovely photography as well 🙂

    • says:

      Thank you Nissam 🙂

  • says:

    SUPERB.Thankyou. Made it last night with 12 nos for 3 of us.Zoop and gone.Need at least 36 nos maybe more with this recipe to say Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    • says:

      Sorry for the late reply @Jay Zaim. Thank you for taking the time to try the recipe and sharing the outcome with us. Hope you will try our other recipes too.

  • S

    I have a confusion.. What ingredients need to be ground??

    • says:

      Hi Sonam,
      The ingredients needed to be blended together are Black pepper powder, Turmeric powder, Red chilly powder and Salt. 🙂

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