Dry Fish Chutney

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Dry fish chutney is traditionally served with hot rice and curry in Southern India. This recipe was created by me when I was bored at home and needed some new, creative recipe to try out! I have never quite gotten over the taste of it, and I have this strong conviction that one must taste it to understand how yummy it is.

Related Post: How To Make Mango Salsa For Fish Tacos

Dry Fish Chutney / Nungel Meen da Chutney

Dry fish chutney or Nungel Meen da chutney (in Tulu) is a popular side dish in Tulunadu region. It is served along with rice and other curries, especially when spice levels in the other curries are bland. The spicy hot, tangy, salty flavor combo with crispy bits of dry fish and texture from grated coconut makes this dry fish chutney, a heavenly add-on for rice.

Dry Fish Chutney is a great alternative when fresh fish is not available because fishermen cannot venture into the seas during monsoon season.

Ingredients to prepare Dry Fish Chutney

Dry fish/salted fish (nungel meen)-100 gms 

Grated coconut – 1 cup 

Red chillies – 3-4

Tamarind ball – small marble size

Cumin seeds – 1/4th tablespoon

Turmeric – 1/4th tablespoon

Finely chopped onion -1 medium sized

Salt

Method to prepare Dry Fish Chutney

  1. Wash and clean the dry fish – remove any scales.
  2. Slowly roast the fish over medium heat. 
  3. Turn off the flame when the fish turns crispy & can be easily broken to pieces. 
  4. Break them into bite-size pieces & discard the tail (if any).
  5. Dry roast the grated coconut along with red chilies, turmeric, cumin seeds for a few mins.
  6. Let it cool away and then transfer the contents into a blender.
  7. Add tamarind ball & salt.
  8. Don’t add water, blend the spices along with coconut well.
  9. Transfer the contents into a bowl.
  10. Thoroughly mix the blended spices with finely chopped onion and fried fish pieces.

A useful tip: If you want to store the chutney for long periods, do not add onion and instead of freshly grated coconut use dried coconut flakes (copra) in the same proportion.  Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Dry fish chutney (Nungel been Chutney)

If you have loved fish cuisine in all its different forms, this easy-to-prepare tangy dry fish chutney will be a welcome addition to your staple diet. Fish (or meen as they call in Tulu) chutney paired with the nutritious Ganji (brown rice porridge or gruel) is comfort food at its best.

If you have loved fish cuisine in all its different forms, this easy-to-prepare tangy dried fish (or meen) chutney will be a welcome addition to your staple diet. Fish chutney paired with the nutritious Ganji (brown rice porridge or gruel) is comfort food at its best.
Dry fish (nungel meen) chutney
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Gazing out on a rainy day in Chicago, my mind flashes back to Bombay (Mumbai) a city that sees rains in its full fury; a whole season devoted to the monsoons. For a coastal city with some of the best seafood, the monsoons ensure fishermen stay away and fresh fish is pretty much unavailable. Yet, fish lovers aren’t morose, with some of the best dishes with dried fish being cooked up in this season.

The rain brings back those memories  – walking back home from school in my raincoat to the door opening to those wafting flavors of fish/meen chutney.

How to make dry fish / nungel meen chutney

If you haven’t heard of dried fish (nungel meen) chutney before, it is a tangy and spicy chutney, made from dried fish, usually a shrimpmackerelanchovies or shark fish.  A popular side dish with fish-eating communities across India, fish chutney is made by slow roasting dried fish in a bit of oil and coarsely grinding the roasted fish with freshly grated coconut, garlic cloves, and a few other spices.

For years, having moved to the US, I’d assumed eating fish chutney would be confined to those India visits. That was until we discovered dried anchovies in our local store and I couldn’t wait to make it. My kids wrinkled their noses at first but having tasted it, their gustatory senses won over the olfactory ones 🙂

Pair this meen chutney with yogurt rice (dahi rice) or Ganji dish and it will instantly add that extra bit of flavor to your meal, making it an absolute lip smacker.

Related Post: Best Food For Betta Fish

How to make dry fish / nungel meen chutney with Kundapur masala powder

Substitute byadgi chilies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and fenugreek seeds with 3 tablespoons of Kundapur masala powder. This will save you time and effort associated with roasting these spices.

Dried fish chutney (Meen Chutney)

If you have loved fish cuisine in all its different forms, this easy-to-prepare tangy dry fish chutney will be a welcome addition to your staple diet. Fish (or meen as they call in Tulu) chutney paired with the nutritious Ganji (brown rice porridge or gruel) is comfort food at its best.

COOK TIME: 30 minutes

RESTING TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes

 SERVINGS: –+ tablespoons

DIET : Pescatarian

COURSE : Accompaniment

METHOD: Blender

CUISINE : Mangalorean

INGREDIENTS  1x2x3x

  • ▢50 gms dried fish, dried shark fish, anchovies or dried prawns/shrimp
  • ▢1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ▢8-10 byadgi chilies, can substitute with Kashmiri chillies
  • ▢1 tablespoon coriander, dhania seeds
  • ▢¼ teaspoon cumin, jeera seeds
  • ▢a pinch of fenugreek seeds, methi seeds
  • ▢a pinch of carom, ajwain seeds
  • ▢8-10 whole black peppercorns
  • ▢½ a teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ▢¼ cup onions, roughly chopped
  • ▢1 teaspoon tamarind paste, size of a small marble if using fresh tamarind
  • ▢4 cloves of garlic
  • ▢2 cups freshly grated coconut

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INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Slowly roast the dried fish over medium-low heat for approximately 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat when the fish has turned crispy and can easily be broken to pieces. Break them into bite size pieces and discard the tail (if using shark fish or thatte). Set it aside to cool.
  • Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a medium sized pan and over medium heat.
  • Add chilies to it and roast them till an aroma emanates from it. Remove the chilies and keep it aside.
  • Roast remaining ingredients (coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, ajwain and fenugreek seeds and turmeric powder) for a minute or till it turns aromatic. Set it aside to cool it down (for approximately 10 minutes)
  • Transfer them to a blender along with the chilies, onions, garlic and tamarind paste and grind them to a fine paste. Add the coconut and pulse 2-3 times. Transfer the coconut-spice powder to a bowl and mix the fried fish.
  • Store in an air-tight container in a refrigerator and consume within 4-5 days.

Related Post: Best Fish Food For Bettas

NOTES

To make your dried fish chutney last for a month or so, do not add onions and instead of freshly grated coconut use dried coconut flakes (copra) in the same ratio. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


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