Salt and Pepper Fried Smelts

Chinese Salt and Pepper Fried Smelts
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Extra crispy, spicy and flaky fried smelts are an economic twist on the classic shrimp or calamari. Smelts have a very clean and mild taste. Whether you are looking for an appetizer or main course, this salt and pepper fish recipe comes together in minutes and is super simple to make!

I think these are amazing on their own and need no sauce, however our sesame soy dipping sauce really provides an umami flavor to the smelts and is a must try!

Salt and Pepper Fried Smelts

Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 8 mins Total Time 18 mins
Servings: 2
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Fresh crispy fried smelts with white pepper, shallots, peppers, green onions. Served with a sesame soy dipping sauce. 



Salt and Pepper Topping

Dipping Sauce


  1. Make the dipping Sauce

    In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Mix and set aside. 

  2. Prepare the smelts

    Rinse and pat the smelts dry. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt on a plate, mix to incorporate. Dredge the smelts in the flour and shake off excess flour. 

  3. Frying the smelts

    Place the smelts into hot oil in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fresh smelts cook quickly and only take 2-3 minutes per side. Drain and place on a paper towel lined plate to cool.

  4. Prepare salt and pepper topping

    Thinly slice the shallot, pepper and green onion. Add to a skillet or wok over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of oil. Fry until the shallots are golden brown.

  5. Combine smelts and seasoning mix

    Add the smelts, white pepper and a pinch of salt to the skillet with topping mixture. Toss to combine and cook for a minute. 

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