And if you aren’t in Turkey at this time of year we feel very sorry for you.

Why?

Hamsi has has to be one of the most delicious and economical feasts on the planet.

Hamsi

You can have a fishy…

This fish is small; usually only about 12–15 cm long even when it is an adult but even so,

what it lacks in size it certainly make up for in flavour. They are incredibly easy to cook too.

Hamsi

Not dissimilar to whitebait, hamsi are actually anchovies.

So, if you fancy some tasty fish and happen to be near a fish market why not pop in a by a kilo?

If you ask the fish sellers they will prepare them for you.

At the moment, in Fethiye they are selling for only 10TL a kilo.

Hamsi

Half a kilo is enough for two hungry people.

What an absolutely amazing and simply delicious bargin!

 … on a little dishy

Hamsi don’t require much preparation and there are many ways to cook them.

To make a feast fit for a king (or queen) all you have to do is take them home,

tip some flour into the bag in which you bought them, add some seasoning and,

shaking off the excess flour, deep fry them in oil.

Serve them with salad, some crusty bread and a rakı,

or the tipple of your choice, and you have a truly traditional Turkish feast.

Hamsi tava

If you feel a bit more adventurous why not try this classic dish:

instead of ordinary flour, use yellow corn flour, and add a spoonful of

pul biber (chilli flakes), season to taste with salt, and fry them in a little hot

olive oil in a large shallow pan.

Cover the hamsi with a lid to make sure they cook through and half way through

the cooking time cover them with a large plate and invert the hamsi ‘cake’ in order to cook both sides thoroughly.

When they are cooked, slide onto a serving dish.

With both these recipes, the trick is to get the oil temperature absolutely right:

too hot and it will burn the hamsi, not hot enough and the fish will absorb the oil making the fish greasy.

All we can say is, practice makes perfect.

You can have a fishy…

Hamsi Pilav

One rather grand Ottoman dish is Hamsi Pilavi.

This requires a lot of preparation but it is well worth the effort.

hamsili-pilav3

We suggest this recipe as it’s certainly one of the best we’ve found.

…when the boat comes in…

Hamsi are caught during the winter months in the Black Sea or Marmara.

They are transported to Fethiye and other towns and cities in Turkey.

Hamsi fisherman

And if you aren’t too full after your meal, why not dance to this traditional Black Sea ‘Horon’:

after all, it’s all about hamsi!

Afiyet olsun!

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