Legendary Dishes | Hamsi Firinda (anchovies and potatoes)


Combining fish with potatoes became commonplace in the years after the potato became established in countries with coasts. Fresh and salted mackerel with potatoes was a traditional Irish dish. Small fish and left-over potatoes were a typical Atlantic fringe food, especially in Norway and Sweden, where the dish was known as anjovislåda. Over time the fish and potato dish became more sophisticated. Butter, cheese, cream, onions, tomatoes were added in various combinations. Some included béchamel sauce. Gradually the plain old dish of fish and potato baked or mashed fell out of favour.

Meanwhile in the Black Sea region, the coastal communities remained faithful to the fish-potato combination, but gave their anchovy, fresh out of the sea, pride of place with a 4:3 or 4:2 ratio over the potato. We favour more potato.

  • 1 kg Black Sea anchovies, de-boned, split, washed
  • 750 g potato, cooked whole, peeled, sliced into thin rounds
  • 300 g tomato, chopped small
  • 250 g onion, cut into rings
  • 120 g yoghurt
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 15 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 15 g Turkish paprika flakes
  • 2 tsp marjoram / oregano
  • 1 tsp sumac, ground
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Salt, large pinch

Fry anchovies in oil with pepper until they begin to brown, remove from pan. In the same pan sauté onions and garlic for five minutes, add the potatoes, more pepper, some salt and more oil if necessary. Add the anchovies, breaking them into the potatoes. Add herbs, half of the paprika, cover and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes. Garnish with remaining paprika, serve with yoghurt.

Hamsi – Black Sea anchovies