Rating: 4.5 stars 4.6
3 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0

The classic Acadian way to cook smelt is to fry them. I put a twist on that tradition by frying them in this light tempura batter my husband and I use for shrimp. I serve this with heads on because, like anchovies, these fish are so small everything is edible. But you can remove heads and internal organs if desired.


Recipe Summary

20 mins
15 mins
20 mins
55 mins
4 servings


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk rice wine and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a bowl. Lightly dust smelt with about 1 tablespoon flour. Add smelt to rice wine mixture; cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

  • Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large wok to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  • Mix ice water, 1/2 cup flour, cornstarch, egg yolks, sesame seeds, sesame oil, baking powder, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a bowl.

  • Remove smelt from rice wine mixture and dip, 1 at a time, into the flour mixture until evenly coated. Discard remaining rice wine mixture.

  • Carefully fry smelt, 2 or 3 at a time, in the hot oil until golden on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel-lined plates. Repeat frying with remaining smelt. Serve warm.

Cook's Note:

Reckon about 6 to 8 smelt per person for a starter, and twice that for a main course.

Editor's Note:

The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the breading ingredients. The actual amount of the breading consumed will vary. We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.

The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the marinade ingredients. The actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts

759 calories; protein 23.6g; carbohydrates 31.9g; fat 52.3g; cholesterol 181.4mg; sodium 779.3mg. Full Nutrition