8 sardines, cleaned
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt
For spice paste
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.