Grandma Betty's secrets to marinating and frying a dozen sardines

Grandma Betty's secrets to marinating and frying a dozen sardines

It’s sardine season in KZN, and if you want to spice up the way you cook the silvery fish, Grandma Betty’s recipe is sure to be a hit at dinner. 

Sardines on a plate / iStock
Sardines on a plate / iStock

By the looks of things, it’s safe to say that sardine season is officially here.

All this means is that the chances of eating sardines over the next few weeks are very high which is great if you love sardines, but it can get boring eating it the same old way you have over the past few years.  

READ: Sardine fever has hit Durban

Enter, grandma Betty. Aya, as her family calls her, has a flair for eastern and western cooking.

The 76-year-old enjoying cooking up a storm in the kitchen whenever she gets the chance. Grandma Betty is renowned for her mutton Biryani and cooks at many family functions.

The South Coast resident is so serious about cooking that there is no talking allowed when she is busy in the kitchen.

Cooking, according to aya, is an art that must be respected. With such dedication and passion, you can be sure any recipe that is Grandma Betty approved is sure to be a mouthwatering hit.

She shared her secrets to cleaning, marinating and frying sardines. It’s straight out of her personal cooking scrapbook!

Cleaning the fish

  • Clean and gut the fish. Remove the insides
  • Ensure you run the fish through running water a few times
  • You can leave the head on if you wish - optional
  • Ensure you leave the tail on. It gets super crispy when you fry it, and it’s delicious


Add the cleaned sardines to a bowl or dish and throw in:

  • 2 teaspoons Chilli powder
  • Half teaspoon Jeera powder
  • Half teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

Marinate and leave for an hour aside in the fridge. When you’re ready to fry your sardines, dust them in corn flour and fry them in a shallow pan on medium heat. 4 minutes a side until crispy.

You can also grill the sardines in the oven. Add spray and cook to coat the pan, place the sardines in, and drizzle with olive oil. 180 degrees for half an hour. Turn it over halfway. Enjoy! 

You can freeze the marinated sardines for up to three months in the freezer.

ALSO READ: Recipe: Curried Fish Soup

Main image courtesy of iStock

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