Onnakka Mullan Varuthathe - dry fish fry

I am on my way to "God?s own country" to attend a family function. As much as I?m excited to get there I dread the heat. Every time I go to Kerala, I must come back with a variety of dry fish. I had to finish the last lot before I buy the next.
?Mullan? which is called ?silver belly fish or pony fish? is a small fish with lots of bones. Unless it?s deep fried till crisp, you need to be careful eating it (I would not recommend this dish or fish for kids). Here's how I made this delicious and spicy dry fish fry.

Preparation time: 45-60minutes (includes cleaning and marinating time)
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes
Serves: 3-4

150gms onnakka mullan
6-8 shallots (sambhar onions/ pearl onions)
2-3 garlic pods
2 tbsp- red chili powder
1/2 tsp - turmeric powder
Salt (only and only if required)
Oil for deep frying

Dry fish, like the name says is fish dried in the sun with lots of salt (salt is added as a preservative). So it takes more time to wash and clean than to cook.

You have to wash the fish well to take off the excess salt. To clean the fish, first soak them in water with small newspaper pieces and a few pieces of lemon. (water will soften the fish, newspaper will help in pulling out the excess salt and lime will help in removing the odour)
After half an hour, remove the lemon pieces and newspaper bits and drain the fish
    Cut off the head and tail of the fish
    Clean and wash the fish at least another 3    times in fresh water. Drain and keep aside
Make a thick paste of shallots, garlic pods, chilli powder and turmeric powder. Rub the paste on the fish. Let it marinate for at least half an hour. (check for salt, if you think you have drained it all, add some according to your requirement)
Heat oil in a pan and drop in the fishes slowly (?cos it?ll splatter). Deep fry the fish pieces on both sides, till very crisp. (A word of caution for all those who dread smell around, your house will stink and will persist for a good portion the next day too). Transfer on to a kitchen tissue to remove excess oil

Serve this crispy and spicy onnaka mullan varuthathe with rice

Yours tastefully!!

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