Recipe - Golden Crumbed Fish #LivogenIronChef

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
India tops the list of countries with women and children suffering from iron deficiency anemia. That is a sad documented reality

And yet, iron is easily available in so many foods, be it green leafy vegetables, lean meats, shellfish, beans, mushrooms etc. Poverty though holds us back in addition to poor eating habits and choices. 

Thus, in looking for a unique iron-rich dish for the #LivogenIronChef to present here, I wanted to factor in a few things:
  1. Something different from the usual.
  2. Easy to prepare.
  3. Inexpensive.
  4. Does not compromise on taste.
  5. A food rich in iron and other nutrients.
  6. A heme-derived iron source ( because heme / animal product based sources of iron are more easily taken up by the body than non-heme sources of iron.)

Not an easy task. In the end, I decided to look beyond the traditional sources like spinach, oats, beans and chicken and instead focus on a very easily available seafood that filled all 6 criteria.

Yes, I am talking of the small yet tasty anchovy, which fulfills all my criteria. Unlike most fish that cost a premium, the tiny anchovy is available in abundance at a very reasonable rate and best of all, offers 25 % of the dietary requirement of iron in addition to being a good source of proteins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and vitamins too. 

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Without further adieu, I share with you the recipe for a wonderful snack that can be had whole (bones and all!) - Golden Crumbed Fish.

Golden Crumbed Fish 

Recipe Type: Main Course, Starter
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Fish: Indian anchovy (Nethel / Netholi / Nathal / Kati / Mandeli / Kelba )


Fish pieces (anchovies, cleaned) -    500 gms
Red Chilly powder -     1/2 teaspoon
Ginger garlic paste -    1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder -    1/4 teaspoon
Pepper -    1/4 teaspoon     
Flour -    5 teaspoons
Lime Juice -    2 teaspoons
Egg -    1
Bread crumbs -    1 cup
Salt (to taste)


  1. In a bowl, add red chilly, ginger garlic, turmeric , salt and pepper along with the lime juice and mix well.
  2. Marinate the fish with this paste and keep it for at least half an hour.
  3. Place the bread crumbs in a flat plate. In a separate bowl, place a well beaten egg.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a shallow pan.
  5. Take individual pieces of fish and dip them in flour and egg before coating them well with bread crumbs.
  6. Place into the pan and fry till the distinctive golden brown colour appears.
  7. Drain the oil from the fried fish.
  8. Serve it hot with fresh lemon to get a tangy, crispy bite that is both delicious as well as nutritive.

As a doctor, I can tell you that iron deficiency results in generalized weakness and makes you prone for infections in addition to stunting the growth of children. 
Financially, that is a loss of 0.9% of India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which translates to roughly 1.35 lakh crore rupees.

Iron deficiency is avoidable and we certainly can do better. There are plenty of options for iron-rich food available to us as Livogen points out via the Iron Chef Contest, even if we consider the main barrier of poverty. In the end, it is up to us to be educated about iron deficiency and add it in our diet.

(Update - January 8, 2018)
This entry would go on to win a Runner Up position in the contest.

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Looks like a tasty and inexpensive way of adding iron to your diet. I do love eating fish but, yes, it is quite pricey.

  2. I am a vegetarian Doctor :-P. Going to share this post though :-)

  3. My mom used to make a lot of Anchovy fries. I haven't had one in a long time. Time to visit the fish market. This looks delicious ����

  4. That's a wonderful recipe, looks unhealthy, but is actually good for you ;). What about vegetarians, though?

  5. This is a nice way to add Iron to one's diet. A nice delicious way :)

  6. I don't really cook with anchovies but this does seem like a lovely recipe and a nice way to add iron to one's diet.

  7. I’m sure my grandson who loves fish and fried stuff will gobble this with glee. Thanks for sharing the Indian names of the fish...

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