Mathi Mulakittathu - Sardines in Spicy Sauce
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Malabar
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 6 large sardines, cleaned and cut or 8 small sardines
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder (increase for spiciness!)
  • Water as required
  • 1 lime sized tamarind pc, soaked in ½ cup of hot water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  1. In a "chatti" (earthern pot), add the ingredients from onion to garlic paste and gently mash with your hands till it looks like a little mess.
  2. Add the masala powders, salt and water (initially start with a cup, so that it doesn't become runny!) and mix well.
  3. Bring to boil and cook on low flame till the curry is cooked.
  4. Now add in the cut sardines and cook further till the fish is almost done.
  5. Finally squeeze in the tamarind juice - discard the waste and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Switch off and proceed with tempering.
  7. Heat coconut oil, splutter mustard seeds and briefly fry the curry leaves and fenugreek seeds. Pour into the prepared curry and leave with closed lid for five minutes for the flavors to incorporate.
  8. Devour with kappa puzhukku or rice...
Try to use what you call "neymathi" - sardines that have sufficient oil reserves in them. Normally the big ones are like that. They taste the best when cooked this way.
It is not necessary you make this only with sardines. Mackerel and other small fishes taste as good!
Recipe by The Big Sweet Tooth at