My favorite way to eat sardines: this Indian sardine stir-fry!
What is Sardine Thoran?
I’m guessing you haven’t heard of sardine thoran before. This stir-fry is a south Indian Keralite dish. Think: stir-fried sardines coated in delicious, aromatic Indian spices! The spices and coconut help mask the strong fishy flavor of sardines. Even if you’re not typically a fan of sardines, give this dish a try!
If you’ve never heard of the word “thoran” – it’s basically just stir-fried chopped veggies (or in this case, sardines) with a mixture of coconut, onion and spices. It’s a method of cooking that’s typically reserved for vegetables (I have several veggie thoran recipes on my blog: cabbage, zucchini, beets – even butternut squash). This recipe is known as a meen thoran, meaning fish thoran – though it is one mean thoran 😏 (sorry, couldn’t resist).
When I was pregnant with Tony, I made sure to make this sardine stir-fry at least once or twice every trimester. By my third trimester, I actually started craving sardines – which is very strange for me. I’d just mash them up, mix them with mayo and eat them on crackers. Now, I’m back to only eating sardines in the form of this sardine thoran.
You can always replace sardines with another type of fish if you really want to: canned tuna works well too! I almost always make this with sardines though because it’s the only way I can get myself to happily eat sardines, whereas I can eat tuna in many different ways (see my tuna recipes on the blog).
This is a recipe from my first eBook, South Asian Persuasion: 100+ Paleo Indian recipes. If you love this dish and are looking for more gluten-free, paleo-friendly recipes – then be sure to check it out!
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1- inch ginger minced
- 1 Serrano pepper minced
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 2 4.375 ounce packages of wild sardines in extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon meat masala
- Melt coconut oil in a pan over medium heat, then add mustard seeds.
- Once they begin to splutter, add the onions, garlic, ginger, serrano pepper and curry leaves. Mix well and after 2 minutes, add the remaining ingredients.
- Increase the heat to medium-high heat and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- You can find finely shredded coconut in the freezer aisle of any Indian grocery store.