Fish Puttu: Shredded Fish Fry

Well, I really don’t know how else I could describe the Tamil/Malayalam word “puttu”. The end product is as shown in the picture here and the meat of the fish does seem like it has been shredded, so I guess it is acceptable here :)

My memory is rather faint here but I think the first time I ate this was when I was a little girl and the dish was prepared by my uncle in Melaka. I cannot recall having this dish prepared at home by my mom as well. However, in a more recent period, I remember having this dish at an Indian restaurant in Brickfields, Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur’s Little India. Most commonly, milk shark is the fish used in the dish. I guess the reason they call this particular species of shark the milk shark because in India, it is believed that eating its meat will improve the milk production of a nursing mother.

I have tried making this recipe with some shark fillets and the result was pretty amazing. I must say though that the dish tastes kind of the same even when I used different varieties of fish fillets such as tilapia, orange roughy or even dover sole.

I used ½ pound of tilapia fillets (around three medium-sized fillets) and fried them till they flake up really well in a sautéed combination of cumin seeds, onions, green chilies, finely chopped curry leaves. Then I added some grated coconut and chopped cilantro to add more pizzazz to the dish towards the end.

It’s so quick and simple to prepare this dish and the best thing about it is that it’s versatile. You can have it as a side dish for your lunch (with rice and vegetables) or roll it up in tortillas for a light and satisfying dinner, like I did!

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