(van Hasselt, 1823)
The Indian anchovy (Stolephorus indicus), also known as Hardenberg's anchovy, is a species of oceanodromous fish in the Engraulidae family. It is known as Handalla (හැදැල්ලා) in Sri Lanka, where it is widely sold at most markets and supermarkets. It is widely used as a live or dead bait in tuna fishery.
It is a small schooling fish found in depth of 20-50m in most of the tropical areas of the Indo-pacific oceans including Madagascar and Mauritius eastward and towards Australia and further east to Samoa in westwards. Maximum length do not exceed 15.5 cm. It has 15 to 17 dorsal soft rays and 18 to 21 anal soft rays. There are 2 to 6 small needle-like scutes on the belly region. Maxilla tip is pointed, reaching front border of pre-operculum. Body is a typical engraulid form with light transparent fleshy brown, and silver stripe down flank. Indian anchovy usually feeds on planktons.
This fish is part of the cuisine of the South- and Southeast Asian marine regions. It can be crisp-fried, used to make fish-based culinary products like fish sauce or in curries. In Sri Lanka, this variety of fish is made into a tasty snack by dipping in a batter of flour, then rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried in oil. It is also popular as a ‘white curry’, i.e.a curry made with coconut milk. A spicier variant is made with dry chilli gravy and served with scraped fresh coconut to offset the hotness of the gravy.
- List of fish in India
- List of marine bony fishes of South Africa
- Fish of the Red Sea
- List of common commercial fish of Sri Lanka
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