Difference between Hamsa and Sprat. Hamsa and sprat are both fish that people harvest in large quantities and then prepare into various delicacies. What sets hamsa apart from sprat in terms of appearance and taste, and what culinary techniques are used in their processing? This is explained below.


Hamsa is a small marine fish belonging to the anchovy family.

Sprat is also a member of the same order but belongs to a different family (herring family).


So, the common characteristic of these discussed fish is their miniature size. Nevertheless, they can be distinguished by certain features. One difference between hamsa and sprat can be observed in their mouth structure. Hamsa has a large mouth with a protruding upper jaw and a narrow lower jaw. The corners of the mouth extend beyond the eye boundaries. The body of this fish is elongated and somewhat squared.

Sprat, in comparison, has a flatter structure. The name “sprat” hints at one of its features – a “keel” running along the belly. This pronounced strip, formed by hard sharp scales, gives the marine fish a more streamlined shape.

When comparing other characteristics, it’s worth noting that hamsa tends to be oilier, especially when caught in the autumn. This fish is more eagerly consumed by people. Moreover, when preserving hamsa, no piquant spices are typically added, so as not to overshadow the special pleasant taste of the main ingredient. In the case of processing sprat, spices are welcomed.

Examining the differences between hamsa and sprat, it’s also useful to provide some recipes for their preparation. For instance, fresh-frozen or caught hamsa is recommended to be moderately salted and placed in a jar or container in the refrigerator. The container should be covered with parchment on top. After a week, you can enjoy the delicate product that can perfectly complement boiled potatoes, for example.

If you’d like to get a bit more creative, you can prepare a dish known as “tushonka,” as it’s called in some regions. A deep skillet is used for this dish. Start by sautéing vegetables: onions, sweet peppers, and optionally carrots. Next, add the layer of hamsa. Cover the fish with slices of tomatoes (don’t forget to add salt at every stage). Add a little water, cover the skillet, and use low heat. The “tushonka” will be ready in about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprat can be deliciously cooked with tomato sauce. After rinsing the fish (without heads and innards), arrange them on a skillet over sautéed onions and carrots. Add ground pepper, other desired spices, and definitely a bay leaf. Pour the sprat and ingredients with a somewhat thick mixture of flour and tomato sauce, then bake.