ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Make Hamsi Tava - Turkish Pan-Fried Anchovies Recipe

Updated on February 27, 2011

In Turkey’s Black Sea region where the tiny anchovies known as hamsi are most abundant, the arrival of autumn, winter and early spring means a festive time for anchovy eaters.

The Black Sea anchovies are small, slender, silvery and inexpensive fishes that are very well loved among the Turks. They may be just tiny fishes but when a hamsi tava is prepared in a Turkish kitchen, its irrisistible aroma lingers quite long enough for someone to realize that someone is pan-frying anchovies nearby.

Hamsi tava is just one of the many delicious ways that anchovies are prepared and cooked in Turkey. And yet, it's also the most popular and best enjoyed among the Turkish locals especially in Istanbul as it is very simply prepared by lightly coating or dusting the fishes with corn flour and pan-fried.

Anchovies from the Black Sea region of Turkey.
Anchovies from the Black Sea region of Turkey. | Source

Below is a hamsi tava recipe right from a Turkish kitchen:


  • 1 kg fresh anchovies
  • 300 gr corn flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola, corn or sunflower oil)
  • a pinch of pepper

Anchovies coated with corn flour mixture.
Anchovies coated with corn flour mixture. | Source


  • Wash all the anchovies under cold running water. Remove its guts and heads carefully so to prevent the fishes from absorbing too much oil. Once thoroughly cleaned, drain and set aside.
  • Mix corn flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, crack the egg in and beat lightly using a whisk or fork.
  • In a large non-stick frying pan, pour some vegetable oil – about 2-3 tablespoons and heat it up slowly over medium low heat.
  • Take two anchovies at a time by holding them firmly from the tails. Dip in the lightly beaten egg and roll them over in the cornflour mixture. Shake the small fishes off slightly to remove excess flour. Place the anchovies directly in the pan of preheated oil over low heat.
  • Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the anchovies as quick as you can as the oil is heating up while at the same time arranging all the fishes in the pan side by side with tails joined together in the center to form a circle. This can be done with the help of a fork or spatula.
  • After all the fishes are in, adjust the temperature to medium heat and start frying the anchovies for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Once the other side is done, flip all of them over carefully with a spatula. You may also do this with the help of a round plate and turning them all up side down quite as quick as you can. In Turkey, this is how it’s usually done, though it takes a little practice to turn over the whole group of fried anchovies with a plate.
  • Cook the other side for another 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Hamsi Tava (Photo by Loren Akten)
Hamsi Tava (Photo by Loren Akten)

Repeat all of the above procedure to cook the rest of the anchovies.

After all of the fishes are cooked, place them on a plate garnished with lemon wedges. This side dish is typically eaten with ekmek, a kind of Turkish bread served with freshly sliced onions and a bowl of green salads.

Afiyet olsun! (Have a good appetite!)


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Loren's Gem profile imageAUTHOR

      Loren's Gem 

      9 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      @ samiaali - I'm so glad you liked the recipe. Thanks! Since you love anchovies, too like I do, then no doubt you would probably love hamsi tava. They're not only delicious but easy to prepare, too! :-)

      @ makyol - Merhaba! Ilginiz icin tesekkur ederim. I've been making hamsi tava for my family for years as this is not only one of their favorite fish dishes but mine as well (especially in winter when they are most abundant and sold very inexpensively). So I don't have difficulty providing first-hand information about the recipes that I most oftenly prepare in my own kitchen... as well as sharing the photos which I personally took myself, too. :-)

    • Loren's Gem profile imageAUTHOR

      Loren's Gem 

      9 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      @ oceansunsets - hi and thanks for your comments! I don't know exactly what you and your son had in Greece but since you say it might be something similar to hamsi tava, then you may probably be referring to "gavros sto fourno" or ?????? ??? ?????? (in Greek). This is the most similar Greek dish to Turkish hamsi tava, with anchovies as its main ingredient, though some Greeks usually bake it with tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc. In Turkey, some people here also bake anchovies and I should probably be writing another recipe for that.

      Also, its not surprising that today there are a lot of Greek and Turkish foods that are quite similar (except how we name them) as most of these dishes may be food heritage from Ottoman cuisine.


    • Makyol profile image


      9 years ago

      Loren, I wonder how you can write articles with full of info. Yet another recipe with lots of information.

    • samiaali profile image


      9 years ago

      What an interesting recipe. I love anchovies! I will try this. Thank you so much.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I am so glad to find this hub! My son and I had something similar to this when in Greece, but had no idea how to make it, and now we do! If it is something different from what we had while in Greece I would be surprised, but regardless it looks very interesting. It would be fun to try this recipe, so thank you very much for sharing it!

    • Loren's Gem profile imageAUTHOR

      Loren's Gem 

      9 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      @ OnlineHub & wilsontom: thanks for reading and leaving your comments. im sure you'll love this recipe, its simply delicious! just don't forget the lemons. :-)

      @ Gypsy Writer: indeed they are! and anchovies are healthy, too! thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • wilsontom profile image


      9 years ago from new delhi

      i will be really going to try this.

    • Gyspy Writer profile image

      Gyspy Writer 

      9 years ago from Midwest

      Anchovies are delicious.

    • OnlineHub profile image


      9 years ago from Fresno, CA, USA

      This is a new recipe for me, thanks so much for sharing. I really hope to make one soon :-)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)