Posted on March 5, 2014 by

April: Sardines with Chilli and Apricot glaze

8 sardines, cleaned
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt

For spice paste

10 cloves
2.5cm piece of cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 ½ teaspoons red chilli powder
2 ready-to-eat dried apricots, soaked and pureed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

Wash and pat dry the sardines. For the spice paste, roast the cloves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and coriander and cumin seeds together in a dry frying pan on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until they release their aromas, and then quickly remove them from the heat.

Grind or pound them to a fine powder in a spice mill or using a mortar and pestle and set aside. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan; add the onion and sauté on a medium heat. When the onions are golden, add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the tomato puree, chilli powder, apricot puree, salt and sugar and cook to a glossy, jammy consistency.  Add the ground roasted spices, then remove from the heat; set aside to cool.

Put the sardines on a plate and drizzle with the oil.  Mix together the chilli powder and salt and sprinkle over the fish.  Place the sardines on a ribbed pan or baking tray, skin side up. Using the back of a teaspoon spread the spice paste evenly over each.

Transfer to an oven preheated to 200C/Gas Mark6 and roast for 7 minutes, until cooked through and the flesh flakes easily.

Serve hot with a salad of your choice.