This is one of my favourite Spanish dishes. Spanish angulas is a wonderful combination of fish, roasted garlic, and fiery chilli – pan fried in olive oil.
Angulas are a substitute for baby eels (gulas) that were the original main ingredient.
The guindilla chilli is my favourite part of the dish. Along with the garlic, it is used to flavour the oil before cooking the angulas. Be careful, it is hot.
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Angulas are a Spanish delicacy served as a side dish or appetiser. They are one of my favourite plates, a delicious combination of fish, roasted garlic, and the mouth wateringly hot guindillas, a type of noticeably hot chilli.
Angulas is a dish I associate with the Basque country, a collection of provinces in North Spain and South West France.
It is a mountainous region, and reminds me of Wales in both look and weather. The rain feeds the rivers and estuaries, and it was the rivers that originally provided the main ingredient for the dish, baby eels.
A combination of over fishing and high demand from China and Japan has meant that baby eels are unaffordable to all but a few.
Instead, manufactured angulas are sold in tins in supermarkets, and even advertised on TV. They are made from reformed fish, similar in idea to reformed crab sticks, and by all accounts, look and taste very similar to the real thing.
Arguably the real star of the dish is the chilli. Guindillas have a vibrant orange red colour and are delightfully hot for something so small. Dried guindillas can be purchased in spice bottles.
Both angulas and guindillas are available to purchase outside of Spain. I think they are worth searching for.
Start by preparing the chilli. These are really very hot, so I suggest no more than two chillies per portion. Cut the chillies in half and retain the seeds.
I suggest washing your hands straight after to avoid any chilli accidentally ending up in your eyes.
Take a couple of cloves of garlic, remove the skin, and chop into half centimetre chunks. Avoid the temptation to chop too small.
Angulas can be purchased without oil in the cold section of supermarkets, but for this recipe I used tinned angulas preserved in sunflower oil. Either use a sieve, or lift the angulas out of the tin using forks, and allow the oil to drain away.
With the preparation over, take a small frying pan and give a good splash of olive oil.
Transfer the pan to the hob set to a medium heat, and allow the oil to warm up (but not spit).
Start by adding the garlic and the chilli. The purpose of adding these first is to infuse the oil with their flavour.
Allow these to fry gently for a minute or so, and when the garlic just starts to yellow, it is time to add the angulas.
The angulas only need to be heated through, which will take a minute or so. Keep stirring the angulas round the pan. When they are piping hot they are ready to serve.
Serve straight away. They are at their best eaten hot!
A delicious combination of fish, garlic, and chilli coated in olive oil. A real treat to look forward to.