Hamsi Tava

Fried fresh anchovies with lemon wedges and onion slices on a plate.

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5 from 1 review

Fresh anchovies (hamsi) are coated with cornmeal and fried until golden. Wonderfully crispy and so delicious! This is one of the easiest fresh anchovy recipes with very few ingredients.



  • 500 grams (1.102 pounds) fresh anchovies (hamsi), gutted (with or without bones)

  • 1 cup cornmeal

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1-2 cups oil (depending on the size of your pan)

To serve:

  • Lemon

  • Onion

  • Parsley

  • Bread


  1. Put cornmeal on a plate. Sprinkle salt over it and mix well. 

  2. Coat anchovies with this cornmeal one by one and leave them in the flour.

  3. Heat oil in a pan. Test it with a pinch of salt. It immediately sizzles if the oil is hot enough. 

  4. Fry the anchovies until golden, about 1 minute per side.

  5. Transfer the fried anchovies onto a paper towel with a slotted spoon to remove excessive oil.

  6. Serve warm with chopped parsley, lemon wedges and sliced onions.


  1. If the fresh anchovies you buy are not cleaned or gutted, you can do it yourself. Remove the heads by pulling it down. Then using your thumb, pull the innards down to the tail. Their bones are edible, so you don't need to bother removing them.
  2. Make sure each fish is well coated with cornmeal or all purpose flour. Otherwise, your anchovies won’t fry evenly or be as crispy as desired.
  3. Cornmeal is not the same as corn flour. Cornmeal has a yellowish color and a coarse or fine texture while cornflour has a white color and a texture like regular white flour. Cornflour is also known as corn starch and often used for thickening sauces. So use cornmeal in this recipe!
  4. Once you have finished frying your anchovies, transfer them to a kitchen towel so that any excess oil can drain. Then, you can also sprinkle them with some more salt if needed.
  5. Do not overcrowd your frying pan when cooking anchovies. This will cause some to overcook while others undercook.
  6. Keep in mind that fresh anchovies cook fast. They only need a minute per side! So, be careful not to overcook them, otherwise, they will get too crispy and you won’t be able to taste the meat.