Black Sea Hamsi Izgara is one of the most popular dishes of Black Sea Cuisine. It can be described as a Grilled Anchovy. This dish is usually served as a main course for lunch or dinner. In general, dishes cooked on the grill have a lot of amateurs in the Black Sea region, and the most preferred among them is Hamsi Izgara.

Black Sea Hamsi Izgara main ingredient is Black Sea Hamsi fish.  Actually Black Sea Hamsi is a general trade name of two different species of fish which are very popular at all Coasts of Our Lovely Sea. The first one is the Azov anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus maeoticus Pusanov, 1926) and the second one is the Black Sea anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus ponticus Alexandrov, 1927). Nowadays, both species, under the common trade name Black Sea Hamsi are the main fishing fish of the Black Sea fisheries basin. On the market Black Sea Hamsi mostly available in fresh, salted or marinated form and in frozen after the end of fishing season.

The name of the dish comes from the Turkish word IzgarA, which means in English grid, net or grill and pronounced differently (Shkara, Skara, Zgara etc.) at the various coasts of Our Lovely Sea.

The freshness of Hamsi fish is very important for this dish. Frozen cleaned vacuum packed versions can be used out of season but requires thawing in the refrigerator for an overnight.

As the Hamsi deteriorates faster than any other fish, it is better to grill it as soon as possible after fishing and careful cleaning. At many fish markets around Black Sea sellers clean and wash Hamsi for customers.

When grill Hamsi, always keep in mind the smell of fish and the smell of smoke that does not come out for days and never grill this fish indoors.

Preparation stage of Black Sea Hamsi Izgara is simple but long and dirty work. If uncleaned fish need to be carefully cleaned and well rinsed in the water, dry and sprinkled with salt. Prepare the mixture by mixing all spices with the olive oil in a bowl. Prepare the barbecue. It is necessary to light the barbecue approximately half an hour before starting to cook and to calm the fire. It will help to prevent fish from burning down. There should not be any unburned embers in the barbecue before start cooking.

Cooking stage of the dish takes only 10 minutes. Brush the mixture all over each fish before putting it into a grid. Grill for 2 minutes from each side until golden.

Black Sea Hamsi Izgara traditionally served warm immediately after cooking with white freshly baked bread and lemon wedges.

You can enjoy Black Sea Hamsi Izgara with friends and family in #BlackSeaCuisine restaurants or enjoy at home if you have a backyard in your house.

Black Sea Cuisine is simple, tasty and inexpensive.