Pan Grilled Sardines

Grilled Sardines

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Sardines are one of the most healthiest fish. It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.  Most of the super markets usually carry canned sardines.  I only started getting fresh sardines since last couple of years after seeing this post.  Prior to that, back in Philadelphia, I use to get smelt, as U loves them.  For some reason, the market where I shopped  did not carry sardines and we do not like canned ones.  It is possible that I did not go to the right store back there, just as I did not when we first moved to NY.   Even here,  the grocers I regularly shop at do not carry sardines.   Soon after seeing Sig’s post, I did a google search for some fresh sardines and smelt in NYC.  Voila, to my surprise, there are quite a few stores that carry these fish.  Ever since, I have been getting it very often.  I also learnt that smelt is a seasonal fish and it’s season is very short.  For instance, this year, it’s season was very short, just 3-4 weeks!  It is normally 6-10 weeks, from early December to mid or end of January and sometimes into early February.    I personally prefer smelts to sardines, as sardines are very smelly.  Back in Philly, I thought smelt was smelly and ooh boy, was I wrong!

I wanted to blog these fish for a long time but never got to do so, as I usually cook these in the evening and I don’t like to take pictures after dusk.  Yesterday, I took some picture while I was cooking  and the pictures were not that bad.  So here I am,  with grilled sardines!

Grilled Sardines

Preparation Time: 5 – 10 minutes (mostly to clean & wash the fish)
Cooking Time: 8 minutes
Serves: 3


  • Marinade:
    • 3 tsp Chili Powder (according  to  your taste)
    • 1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
    • 2 – 3 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
    • Pinch of Turmeric Powder
    • 1 tbsp Lime Juice (I used real lime)
    • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 2 lbs Sardines (about 12 pieces.. sometimes you get more depending on the size of the fish)
  • 1 ½ – 2 tsp Oil for grilling


  • Wash the fish and arrange them in a bowl.
  • Fresh Sardines
  • Make a marinade with the ingredients listed under marinade.
  • Rub the marinade to the fish. Marinate it for at least 30 minutes. I marinated it for 1 hour.
  • Marinated Sardines
  • Grease a grilling pan or  a frying pan or a skillet with 1/2 the oil for grilling.  I grilled the fish in 2 batches.  Will use the remaining oil for the second batch.
  • Heat the pan. When hot, arrange the fish on the pan and grill for about 3 minutes on high.  Mind you, keep an eye on your pan and the fish.  If the pan gets very hot, reduce the heat.  We don’t want your smoke detector to go off!
  • Sardines on the grill
  • Turn the fish and cook for another 3-5 minutes on medium or medium high.   By know the fish should be cooked and  the meat will start to fall off the bone.  The cooking time depends on the size of the fish and on the level of heat your cook it on.
  • grilling sardines
  • If necessary, turn it around and cook for another minute or so, until fully cooked.
  • Remove from the pan and arrange them on a serving platter.
  • Add the rest of the oil and grill the remaining fish.
  • Serve hot as a side dish or as it is.

Grilled Sardines


  • Mind you, this fish is very smelly but tastes great.  This fish is also bony, be careful when eating it.

Where to find it:
In NYC, Whole Foods, Citarella, The Lobster Place in Chelsea market and Dean & Deluca (I heard they do) carry these fish.

I am on a blogging marathon since yesterday.  This marathon started on Jan 1st and I am jumping in late and will be doing a half marathon, that is only for 15 days.  I will be posting at least one recipe a day, for the next 15 days, till 31st of Jan.  Check out  fellow marathoners  Srivalli, Priya Suresh, Jaya, Monika, PJ, Priya Vaasu, Azeema, Reva, Ayeesha, Veena, Soumya and Gayathri.

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