Hamsi Tava

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Hamsi Tava, in English Fried Anchovy, is one of the famous Black Sea region seafood dishes in Turkey. Hamsi is a small forage fish that has 144 species in 17 genera. In Turkey, they live in the Black Sea region, and their variety is called ‘European Anchovy’.

As you know Turkey is a country which has surrounded by 3 seas (the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea) and we have special months for certain fish varieties. Among these three seas, the Black Sea is the coldest one, and the cold means fat for fish. The colder the sea, the fattier the fish. The Hamsi fish period continues in Turkey from November to February when the Black Sea is at its coldest period. In Turkey, we say that if you are going to eat Hamsi Tava, wait until the first snow of the year.

In my opinion, Hamsi has one of the best tastes among the forage fishes. The only downside of consuming Hamsi (European Anchovy) is the cleaning part. However, as natural, all good things come with a price and the cleaning part is the price of this magnificent taste. If you are lucky enough, your local fish market may sell cleaned Anchovy. If not, you need to get dirty your hands. As the anchovies deteriorate faster than any other fish, you need the clean them as fast as you can. In Turkey, if you give extra money to the fish market guys, they clean them for you.

How to make Hamsi Tava?

It is very easy to make Hamsi Tava. The hardest part is to clean this tiny fish. If you handled that stage then you have few steps left to make this delicious fish. As I shown below image; after you clean, wash and rinse the Hamsi fish, you need to coat it with corn flour. Don’t use all-purpose flour because corn flour gives a much better taste. The best tip I can give you about making Hamsi Tava is to use Double Sided Grill Pan. If you use a double-sided grill pan, it will be very easy for you to flip the whole batch of frying fish.

Hamsi Tava Steps

Hamsi Tava

Course Main Course
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 125 kcal


  • 1 kg Fresh Anchovies
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges


  1. First, clean the Anchovies and then rinse them well and set aside. Sprinkle the salt on the Anchovies.

  2. Pour the corn flour on the counter and coat the Anchovies well. Repeat until you coat all anchovies.

  3. Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan or double side frying pan and heat the oil at medium heat. (Double side frying pan is best for frying Anchovies).

  4. Fry anchovies in it for two minutes until they get golden and transfer on a paper towel to get the access olive oil from the fried Anchovies.

  5. Serve with lemon wedges.

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