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Crispy Pan-Fried Smelt from Frozen

When I first saw a package of frozen smelts in a supermarket in Italy, it remined me of anchovy, a type of fish similar to all Vietnamese people. Beside making fish sauce, we fry, make soup, and caramelize anchovies for daily meals. I thought, why not trying similarly with smelts? It turned out great, so I would like to share some recipes with this type of fish, starting with Crispy Pan-Fried Smelt from Frozen, with a bit of fried garlic to enhance the taste and aroma. Let’s do it.

Fried Smelt from Frozen

What is Smelt?

To learn more about smelt, I did some research about it. Smelt fish, often simply referred to as “smelts,” are a type of small, silvery fish that are found in both freshwater and saltwater environments. They are typically small, ranging from a few inches to around 7-9 inches in length. They have a slender, elongated body and are known for their silver or silver-blue coloration. Smelts are often caught in large numbers during their spawning runs in rivers or streams, making them available for harvest during certain times of the year in specific regions. For example, my frozen smelt package originates from a fresh water lake in Turkey.

Smelt fish is soft with obviously fishy smell, and you can eat all of them even the bones. These fish are commonly prepared and consumed by frying, often coated with crispy batter. It’s also because the bones are too small to remove. In my pan-fried smelts recipe, I don’t fry them with a crispy batter to save time and focus on frying them a right way to make them crispy themselves.

Ingredients

The ingredient for Crispy Pan-Fried Smelt from Frozen is super simple: You’ll need smelt fish, chopped garlic, a bit of cooking oil. The number of Smelt depends on your family size. I fried nearly 300g (nearly 11 oz) for 2 people.

Fried Smelt from Frozen

For Frying, I’m into vegetable oil such as peanut, sunflower seed or canola oil. Olive oil has a special fragrance and I found it not so much compatible with the smell of this type of fish; however, it’s only a personal preference.

How to make Pan-Fried Smelt from Frozen

Smelt is small type of fish, so you can even skip defrosting step – just directly add it into hot oil. They can quickly thaw right away.

  • Step 1. First, add 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil in a non-stick pan. You should use non-stick pan instead of stainless-steel pan, because the fishes are small and soft, so easily stick to the pan. Once the oil starts to boil, add the frozen fish in.
Fry Frozen Smelt
  • Step 2. Gently stir the smelts on the pan until all are thawed. Since then, leave them there and limit stirring to avoid crushing the fish. Only stir if you see the smelts harden and turn brown on one side. While waiting, you can chop 2-3 cloves of garlic for next steps.
  • Step 3. After the fishes are golden-brown and become crispy, add chopped garlic to the pan and stir well to combine with the fish. Stir in 1-2 minutes for the garlic to turn brown and crispy as well, then turn off the heat.
Fried Smelt
  • Step 4. Prepare dipping sauce. You can just easily pour chili/tomato/mayonnaise sauce as the dipping sauce. For me, I enjoy eating fried fish with fish sauce, so I made some by mixing 1 tsp of minced garlic, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp still water together.
Fried Smelt from Frozen

It’s done! From frozen fishes, you can turn into a tasty dish of fried smelt in just 30 minutes. You can eat fried smelts as a side dish, or eat with cooked rice, vegetables, and soup. Let’s try homemade Crispy Pan-Fried Smelt from frozen right away and enjoy your delicious and nutritious dish.

Fried Smelt from Frozen

Crispy Pan-Fried Smelt from Frozen

Yield: 2
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

From frozen fishes, you can turn into a tasty dish of fried smelt in just 30 minutes. Let's try homemade Crispy Pan-Fried Smelt from frozen.

Ingredients

Fried Smelt from Frozen

  • 300g (11 oz) Smelts
  • 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

Dipping sauce

  • Chili/tomato/mayonnaise sauce, or
  • Fish sauce: 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp minced garlic

Instructions

Smelt is small type of fish, so you can even skip defrosting step – just directly add it into hot oil. They can quickly thaw right away.

  • Step 1. First, add 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil in a non-stick pan. You should use non-stick pan instead of stainless-steel pan, because the fishes are small and soft, so easily stick to the pan. Once the oil starts to boil, add the frozen fish in.Fried Smelt from Frozen
  • Step 2. Gently stir the smelts on the pan until all are thawed. Since then, leave them there and limit stirring to avoid crushing the fish. Only stir if you see the smelts harden and turn brown on one side. While waiting, you can chop 2-3 cloves of garlic for next steps.Fried Smelt from Frozen
  • Step 3. After the fishes are golden-brown and become crispy, add chopped garlic to the pan and stir well to combine with the fish. Stir in 1-2 minutes for the garlic to turn brown and crispy as well, then turn off the heat.Fried Smelt from Frozen
  • Step 4. Prepare dipping sauce. You can just easily pour chili/tomato/mayonnaise sauce as the dipping sauce. For me, I enjoy eating fried fish with fish sauce, so I made some by mixing 1 tsp of minced garlic, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp still water together.Fried Smelt from Frozen

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 150g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370

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Other Smelt Recipes

With smelt, you can make various interesting dishes! Try these smelt recipes:

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