Hamsi Tava

Hamsi Tava

Hamsi Tava, in English ‘Fried Anchovy’, is one of the famous Black Sea region seafood dish 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 (Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea) and we have special months for certain fish varieties. Within 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. Hamsi period continues in Turkey from November to February which 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 within the forage fishes. The only downside of consuming Hamsi (European Anchovy) is the cleaning part. However, as natural, all the good things come with a price and the cleaning part is the price of this magnificent taste. If you are lucky, 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.

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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