Fried Dried Fish


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a side dish

Appears in

When Bamini made me this traditional dish from Valvettithurai I was a bit apprehensive — dried fish has quite a pungent odour — but to my surprise it was very tasty. If you can’t find good-quality dried fish, fresh fish is a wonderful alternative, but you will need to double the quantity of salt and roasted curry powder.


  • 200 g (7 oz/about 15) small pink Asian shallots*, peeled and halved
  • 140 g (5 oz) dried fish*, cut into 2-3 cm (¾-1¼ inch) pieces (or 500 g/1 lb 2 oz) white-fleshed fish such as baby barramundi, cut into cutlets about 1.5 cm ( inch) thick)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Bamini’s roasted curry powder (or store-bought roasted curry powder)
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 20 g (¾ oz/1 cup) curd chillies (or store-bought)


Place the shallots and dried fish in two separate bowls. Combine the salt and curry powder, then sprinkle half over the shallots and half over the dried fish. Mix well and set aside.

Fill a small wok or heavy-based saucepan one-third full of oil and heat to approximately 150°C (300°F) (a cube of bread dropped into the oil will brown in 35 seconds). Deep-fry the curd chillies for 30-60 seconds, or until dark brown and crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Deep-fry the shallots for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, then remove and drain on paper towel. Deep-fry the dried fish pieces for 2 minutes (3 minutes if using fresh fish), or until dark brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Transfer the fish to a serving plate, and put the fried shallots and curd chillies into small bowls. Serve with pittu.