Salmon Puttu - A Mouth Melting Dish

How to make Fish Puttu

Fish Puttu is a traditional dish from South India that brilliantly showcases the region’s love for seafood combined with its rich, aromatic spices. Often considered comfort food, it embodies the simplicity and depth of South Indian culinary practices, using fresh ingredients and spices to create dishes that are both nourishing and delightfully flavorful.

The base ingredient, as the name suggests, is fish – typically a firm-fleshed variety like kingfish, tuna, or mackerel, which is cooked and then shredded to achieve a texture similar to that of scrambled eggs or flaked tuna. This preparation method ensures that the fish blends well with the other ingredients, creating a harmonious mix of flavors and textures.

To this, finely chopped or ground spices such as mustard seeds, turmeric, red chili powder, and curry leaves are added, along with onions, green chilies, and grated coconut. These elements are sautéed together, infusing the fish with the vibrant and diverse flavors characteristic of South Indian cuisine. The inclusion of coconut is particularly noteworthy, as it adds a subtle sweetness and richness that balances the heat from the chilies and the spices’ sharpness, resulting in a dish that’s complex yet comforting.

Fish Puttu Recipe

Salmon Puttu - A Mouth Melting Dish

Fish Puttu

If you are looking for a light meal, this shredded fish masala is for you. The fish is steamed and then shredded and stir-fried with spices. It is more like scrambled fish—hence the name fish puttu. Traditionally, it is prepared with shark, but you can make it with any variety of firm white fish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 871 kcal


  • 1 steamer
  • 1 large skillet


  • 1 pound boneless skinless fish fillets
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 green chiles finely chopped
  • 2 curry leaf sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  • Place the fish fillets in a steamer basket and place the basket inside a pot filled with 2 inches of water. Cover the pot, place it over medium-high heat, and bring the water to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and steam the fish for about 10 minutes, until it flakes easily with a fork. Remove the fish from the steamer and flake it into small pieces using a fork. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil.
  • Add the mustard seeds and garlic and cook until the mustard seeds begin to sputter, about 1 minute.
  • Add the onion, green chiles, and curry leaves. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is transluscent.
  • Stir in the flaked fish, coriander, turmeric, and salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes more, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Serve, garnished with cilantro.


Speed up the time it takes to steam the fish by cutting the fillets into a few smaller pieces. When shredding the fish, be sure to remove any small bones missed when it was filleted.
Keyword boneless, fish fillets

Cooking Tips about Fish Puttu

Instant Meen puttu | Gravy | Geek Robocook recipes

  • Choice of Fish: Opt for firm-fleshed fish varieties like kingfish, tuna, or mackerel, known for retaining their structure once cooked and shredded. Freshness is key, as it directly influences the overall taste of the dish.
  • Cooking and Shredding the Fish: Gently boil the fish until it’s cooked through, then allow it to cool before meticulously shredding it into small, uniform pieces. This ensures that the fish absorbs the medley of spices more effectively, achieving a balanced flavor.
  • Balancing Spices: The soul of Fish Puttu lies in its spice blend. Use staple South Indian spices such as mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric, and red chili powder in appropriate proportions. Adjust the quantity according to your heat tolerance and preference for authentic taste.
  • Sautéing Ingredients: Begin by sautéing mustard seeds, followed by finely chopped onions, green chilies, grated coconut, and curry leaves. This process is crucial for releasing the spices’ aroma and flavors, creating a rich base for the dish.
  • Incorporating the Fish: After the base is prepared, gently fold in the shredded fish, ensuring it is well-coated with the spice mix. This step allows the flavors to meld together, enriching the fish with the aromatic spices.
  • Moisture Content: Fish Puttu should have a dry, scrambled texture. Be cautious not to add too much oil or water during the cooking process, as this can impact the consistency and taste of the final dish.
  • Final Seasoning: Taste the Puttu before finalizing it. Adjust the seasoning with salt, or add a squeeze of lemon juice for a subtle tangy note if desired. The goal is to strike a perfect balance between the spices, the natural flavor of the fish, and other ingredients.
  • Serving Suggestions: Fish Puttu can be served in a variety of ways – as a main dish with rice or roti, as part of a larger meal alongside other South Indian delicacies, or even as a breakfast item with appams. Exploring different serving options can provide a refreshing culinary experience each time.

Serving sugggestions about Fish Puttu

சுவையான மீன் புட்டு செய்வது எப்படி | Fish Puttu Recipe in Tamil | Shanu  Samayal - YouTube

  • As a Main Dish with Rice: Serve Fish Puttu as the main protein alongside steamed rice. Its flavors are robust enough to stand on their own and make for a satisfying meal. The mildness of the rice complements the spiciness and complexity of the Fish Puttu, creating a harmonious balance.
  • Breakfast or Brunch Option: Due to its similarity in texture to scrambled eggs, Fish Puttu can be an excellent breakfast or brunch option. Serve it with appams or dosas for a fulfilling start to your day. It provides a hearty, protein-rich alternative to more traditional breakfast dishes.
  • With Roti or Naan: For those who prefer bread over rice, pairing Fish Puttu with roti or naan offers a delightful experience. The soft and fluffy nature of these breads works well with the texture and flavors of Fish Puttu, making for a comforting meal.
  • As Part of a Thali: Incorporate Fish Puttu into a South Indian thali, a platter consisting of various dishes, to offer a broad taste of regional cuisine. In this setting, Fish Puttu adds a seafood element that contrasts nicely with vegetarian sides, pickles, and chutneys.
  • Served in Lettuce Wraps: For a lighter, more health-conscious option, Fish Puttu can be served in lettuce wraps. This method offers a refreshing crunch that complements the dish’s flavors while keeping the meal low-carb.
  • As a Stuffing in Sandwiches or Wraps: Utilize Fish Puttu as a savory filling for sandwiches or wraps. Combined with some fresh vegetables and a suitable sauce or condiment, it can transform into a quick and delicious snack or light meal, perfect for on-the-go eating.
  • Accompanied by Side Salad: Serving Fish Puttu with a side salad dressed in a light vinaigrette can balance its richness. A simple salad with fresh, crisp ingredients cuts through the spice and makes the meal more complete.

Top 5 FAQs about Fish Puttu

Fish Puttu / Scrambled Fish with Spices | Aish Cooks

  • What is Fish Puttu? Fish Puttu is a traditional dish originating from South India, known for its rich flavors and comforting texture. It is made with firm-fleshed fish such as kingfish, tuna, or mackerel that is cooked, flaked, and then mixed with an aromatic blend of spices, including mustard seeds, turmeric, red chili powder, curry leaves, onions, green chilies, and grated coconut. This mixture is sautéed to blend the flavors together, creating a dish that is both nutritious and flavorful.
  • Which kind of fish is best suited for Fish Puttu, and why? Firm-fleshed fish like kingfish, tuna, or mackerel are ideal for Fish Puttu due to their ability to retain structure and texture once cooked and flaked. These types of fish do not disintegrate easily during the cooking process, allowing them to absorb the spices more effectively and yield a satisfying texture similar to scrambled eggs.
  • How do you achieve the perfect texture for Fish Puttu? The perfect texture for Fish Puttu is somewhat dry, similar to that of scrambled eggs or flaked tuna. To achieve this texture, the fish should be cooked and then cooled before being meticulously flaked into small, even pieces. While sautéing the mixture, ensure that excess moisture is minimized by avoiding the addition of too much oil or water.
  • Can Fish Puttu be served as a main course? Yes, Fish Puttu can be served as a main dish accompanied by rice or roti, making for a full and satisfying meal. Its robust flavors allow it to stand on its own, but it can also be part of a larger spread featuring other dishes.
  • Are there vegetarian or vegan alternatives to Fish Puttu that maintain the essence of the dish? While the base ingredient of Fish Puttu is fish, a vegetarian or vegan version could replicate the texture and flavor profile by substituting fish with crumbled tofu or tempeh. The key lies in using the same aromatic spice blend and sautéing technique to infuse the plant-based “fish” with the traditional flavors of the dish. However, it’s important to note that this would be a creative adaptation rather than a traditional rendition of Fish Puttu.

Fish Puttu embodies the rich tapestry of South Indian culinary practices, seamlessly merging the simplicity of its ingredients with the complexity of its flavors. As a dish, it represents more than just the sum of its parts—fish, spices, and coconut—coming together; it stands as a testament to the region’s enduring love affair with seafood, elevated by the ingenious use of local spices. Through the meticulous process of cooking, shredding, and sautéing, Fish Puttu transforms humble ingredients into a comforting, yet sophisticated meal that appeals to both the palate and the soul.


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