Smelt is a small silvery fish with the odor of fresh cucumber. This fish belongs to the smelt family, to the ray-finned species. It cannot be confused with other fish because of its odor. If someone closes their eyes, asks them to identify the object by smell, and lets them smell the fish, everyone will say that it is a cucumber or something similar to a cucumber. The smell is the very distinctive feature of the smelt, which does not allow it to be confused with other fish.

General description

The smelt body has a fusiform shape. The scales are small, easily falling off. Some subspecies are scaleless. Instead of scales, their bodies are covered with skin, which is also covered with tubercles during spawning. The mouth of this fish is large.


There are many subspecies of fish in the smelt family. Let’s describe the most common ones:

  • Asian;
  • Far eastern;
  • European.

We should add that this is a commercial fish. In addition, it often acts as an object for amateur or sport fishing.

Asian smelt is a subspecies of European smelt. We should note that this is a fairly common subspecies. It lives in the Yenisei. The peak of activity is in summer and autumn. At this time, these fish feed, and only can they be caught in large numbers. At other times they are inactive. They feed on caviar of other fish and various small invertebrates.

Far Eastern smelt is a small fish of the European subspecies. It differs from most species of smelt in the mouth. Its mouth, in contrast to large-mouthed smelts, is rather small. It lives longer than the European one and grows to a maximum length of 10 centimeters.

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The most common subspecies of European is smelt. It is a dwarf form. Such a fish grows up to 10 centimeters long. Its body is covered with large scales that are easy to clean. The jaws have weak teeth.

  • Calorie content 102 kcal
  • Proteins 15.4 g
  • Fat 4.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 0 g
  • Dietary fiber 0 g
  • Water 79 g

The benefits of smelt

Firstly, Smelt toothy, Asian is rich in vitamins and minerals such as: potassium – 15.6%, phosphorus – 30%

Secondly, Potassium is the main intracellular ion that takes part in the regulation of water, acid, and electrolyte balance participates in nerve impulses, pressure regulation.
Thirdly, Phosphorus takes part in many physiological processes, including energy metabolism, regulates acid-base balance, is a part of phospholipids, nucleotides, and nucleic acids, and is necessary to mineralize bones teeth. Deficiency leads to anorexia, anemia, rickets.


Smelt meat, the composition of which has an excellent taste, contains many elements useful to humans and the composition of other fish species – vitamins and minerals. The composition of the smelt is protein, fat, water, and ash. Smelt meat contains phosphorus, potassium, sodium, calcium, chromium, chlorine, nickel, fluorine, and molybdenum. The composition of the smelt is also rich in niacin, B vitamins.

Despite the significant fat content in the composition, which gives the fish excellent taste, its composition has a low-calorie content. The energy value of smelt is an average of 124 calories per 100 grams.

Smelt beneficial features

Small fish people usually eat with bones – their bones are very tender and only benefit the body. Eating them will help avoid osteoporosis, strengthen bones and joints, and restore the body’s optimal balance of micro and macroelements. The benefit of smelt is that its fish oil contains essential fatty acids and provitamin A, which has a beneficial effect on vision.

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How to cook

Smelt is a rather fatty fish, so it is delicious when fried or baked. How to cook smelt? The most delicious option is to bake it in clay or charcoal, so to speak, in its own juice, in its own fat. This makes it soft and aromatic. Smelt is very easy to clean – its scales you may remove like a stocking.


You can cook fish soup from it; you can stew it, bake it, make jelly and aspic, pickle, dry, dry, and smoke. Hot smoked smelt is especially tasty. This fish is the favorite snack for beer. An annual smelt festival is held in St. Petersburg – it is especially loved by residents of the Baltic coast and the Gulf of Finland.

Smelt fried in a pan in flour



To prepare smelt fried in a pan in flour, you will need:

  • smelt – 1 kg;
  • salt, black pepper – to taste;
  • lemon juice – 1 tsp;
  • flour – 120 g;
  • vegetable oil for frying – 5 tbsp. l.

Cooking steps

  1. We wash the smelt under cold water, lightly scrape the backs with a knife (sometimes there are scales), and rinse well again. We do not remove the tails and fins – they are very tender and crunch perfectly in the finished dish.
  2. Next, we make an incision along with the head to the ridge of the fish, tear off the head, pull out the insides, and easily reach behind the head (we do not stretch the caviar).
  3. We similarly clean all the fish.
  4. We clean the whole fish in a similar way, salt, and pepper the prepared fish to taste, add lemon juice and leave to salt and marinate for 20 minutes.
  5. Next, salt and pepper the prepared fish to taste, add lemon juice and leave to salt and marinate for 20 minutes.
  6. Then pour flour into a bowl. Dip the fish in flour, breading well all the fish, including head cuts and tails.
  7. Pour vegetable oil into a frying pan, heat it, and spread the smelt in one layer.
  8. Fry the fish over medium heat until golden brown, first on one side (about 7-8 minutes), then turn it over to the other side and fry for another 7-8 minutes.
  9. Remove the rosy fish with a delicious crispy crust from the pan and put it on a serving dish. When all the fish is ready, we serve the smelt to the table.
  10. Delicious, crispy, fragrant smelt goes well with a side dish of potatoes, rice, or vegetables. Such fish is good, both hot and cold, but in a cooled fish, the crunch goes away. Prepare the smelt, fried in flour in a pan, and you will be happy to return to this recipe more than once!
  11. Bon appetit to you, friends!
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How To Clean SMELT Quick & Easy

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