Traditionally this meal is prepared with a very tiny fish that is eaten head, bones and all. If this fish is not available to you then smelt is a very good substitute; but you’ll have to remove the bones of the smelts while you’re eating.
1 Kg (2.2 pounds) smelts, cleaned and heads removed
25 mL (2 tbsp) salt
125 mL (1 cup) flour
vegetable oil for deep frying
1/2 head garlic peeled and crushed
1 head red sweet pepper, very finely diced
red hot pepper flakes to taste
50 mL (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice or vinegar or a mix of the two
Sprinkle the fish with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes or longer. Dredge with flour and deep fry in single layers in a generous amount of oil until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Transfer to a large platter.
In a skillet, fry garlic in 5–6 tbsp of the remaining oil until light golden in colour. Add to it the diced sweet pepper and red hot pepper flakes, and turn over a few times. Add lemon juice or vinegar and bring to a boil. Pour sauce over fish.
Eat warm or cold. It is best served with pita (Arabic bread). Great as a left-over.
Makes 5-6 servings