Deliciously innovative home cooking

Dried Fish – An unusual scent

Dried Fish – An unusual scent

I want to start this post with a poem, well more of a couplet like thing, so here goes: Dry fish is a stinky pleasure; but made with love, it is a treasure. Most of you don’t like what it smells like; but a delicious treat with this, bodes well for my friend Mike.

Okay, before we get any further, let me just tell you, I have no friend called Mike. I used the name only because it rhymed, and I wanted to write a shady poem; and make a fabulous recipe with dried fish. So, most of the people I know hate dried fish. Not because they hate eating it, but because they hate cooking it. Because, when you cook dried fish, it stinks; to some of you.

Not to me, because the smell of dried fish is like fragrance for me. It truly is! I totally love the smell of dried fish, and moreover I love cooking with dried fish, because in the monsoons, when fresh fish is a far cry, I go medieval and cook with dried fish. Come on now, I am a fish connoisseur and can’t live without it. So, I can have it any form. Fresh, cured, dried, and anything and everything else that is fishy.

My mom’s a brilliant cook, genes I say! And her dried shrimp chutney recipe is a treat for all those who like fish and then for those who like fish not being too fishy. Better still, I’ll make them into cutlets that no one would expect or imagine. Because, they don’t smell of dry fish, or even have the ‘not so appetising’ flavour of dry fish that most of you aren’t fans of. This extremely simple recipe of cutlets will make you a fan too. I can vouch for it. So, happy monsoons I guess!


For the chutney

Dried prawns – 250gms

Onions – 3nos finely chopped

Garlic paste – 4tsp

Ginger paste – 3 tsp

Chilli powder – 2 tbsp

Lime juice – 1tbsp

Salt to taste

Oil – 2 tbsp for making the chutney

For the cutlets

Potato – 1 large (boiled and peeled)

Salt – to season potatoes

Chilli powder – to season potatoes (if you need it)

Garam Masala powder – 1 tbsp

Flour – ½ cup (to coat the cutlets)

Oil – 5 tbsp (for searing the cutlets)



To Make the Chutney

  • First up soak the dried prawns in boiling hot water for 30mins.
  • Once soaked, drain and rinse very well in cold water to wash off all the sand and salt.
  • Now chop the onions fairly fine, add to it the garlic and ginger paste, and the red chilli powder, in a mixer. And grind it to a smooth paste.
  • Now to this mixture add the dried, washed prawns. And grind again until smooth, but not losing the texture of the prawns.
  • Now heat 2 tbsp of oil, let it heat up and add the mixture from the mixer (wow! This is turning out to be more poetic than I intended!).
  • Add the salt, stir well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes (covered).
  • After 2 minutes add the lime juice, again mix well.
  • Cook on a low flame, stirring constantly, till you can see the oil separating itself around the corners of the cooking pan.
  • Chutney done.

To Make the Cutlet

  • Set the chutney aside to cool.
  • Now in a bowl, mash the potato.
  • Add salt and chilli powder to balance the boiled potatoes, to the chutney mixture.
  • Add the shrimp chutney to the potatoes, and knead well, to form a cohesive mixture.
  • Take small rolls of the mixture and pat them into patties.
  • Now, in a pan, pour the 5 tbsp of oil, on a medium flame, and let it heat up.
  • Meanwhile, take the patties and toss them in the maida/flour until fully covered, and lay them gently in the heated oil.
  • Let it sear on one side until golden brown and then flip.
  • Once it’s been seared on both sides, it is cooked and ready to be eaten.
  • Serve it with some mint, or tamarind chutney, which you can save effort and get on and enjoy it!


  • This can be made with any kind of dried fish.
  • Dried fish is fairly versatile, but kinda stinky, but totally worth
  • If you have friends who don’t love fish to be fishy, this will be your best bet!
  • When making the patties, wet your hands with water/oil so the batter doesn’t stick.
  • Don’t use too much flour, takes away from the flavour and the efforts.
  • You can bake these too, on a baking tray, lined with baking paper, place the cutlets, and cook them at 160 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Turn them over and repeat the baking process.
  • Serve with a delicious chutney or a tangy sauce.

Well, I have taken the risk with this recipe, to incorporate ‘not so liked’ ingredients into an extremely healthy and easy post. Guilty, I wouldn’t mind! But I am giving you an easy and doable and lovable recipe for those who love it and those who don’t. So, in all fairness, you should follow me on my social media, and love and look forward to more. Oh, that can also be done by subscribing to my blog. So, yeah, covered it pretty much. Looking forward…. Cheers!


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