Fish Puttu / Scrambled Fish with Spices

Fish Puttu / Scrambled Fish and Spices

This recipe was one of those surprise discoveries a few years ago. I came across this on and seeing how easy it was, decided to try it in addition to making the usual (also an all-time-favorite) fish curry. We got hooked right away! It’s so simple and only takes trying once to find out how true that is. Wait, that’s not all. If you’re someone who’s been looking for a way to get initiated to eating fish: there’s no better way than this recipe. A lot of people who’ve tried this for the first time have not been able to guess the ingredient – its been mistaken for raw plantain and even potatoes! The fishy flavors are beautifully camouflaged in this recipe but to give credit where it is due, it is the fish after all that’s lending the dish its superb taste. Oh, and I must mention the reason for the overdose of urad dal during tadka – those crunchy bits of fried dal dispersed throughout the puttu are so much fun to eat 😛 This one’s a keeper!

Source: Adapted from’s Fish Puttu Recipe

Serves: 4 -6

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  1. Boneless Fish fillets/pieces – 1 lb (tilapia, catfish preferred)
  2. Oil – 3 tbsp
  3. Dry red chilies – 2, broken
  4. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  5. Urad seeds – 2 tbsp
  6. Onion – 1 medium, chopped fine
  7. Green chilies – 4, slit
  8. Red chili powder – 2 tsp or to taste
  9. Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
  10. Garam masala – 1 tsp
  11. Salt – to taste
  12. Coconut – 1/4 cup, shredded or chopped into small bits (optional)
  13. Curry leaves – few
  14. Coriander / Cilantro leaves – few stalks, chopped


Cook, flake and season the fish:

  1. Make a paste with the turmeric, half the chili powder and some salt in a little bit of oil.
  2. Coat the fish pieces with the spice paste.
  3. Cook the fish until its fully done and ready to be flaked. This can be done in any of these 2 methods:
      • Method 1: Steam / boil the fish on a stove until it is fully cooked. Remove from heat, drain any water left and allow the fish to cool for a little bit.

      • Method 2: Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes in a lightly oil-coated tray/pan, drain any water.

  4. Flake the fish with a fork leaving no lumps or pieces.
  5. Add the remaining chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala to the flaked fish and combine together.

Prepare the puttu / scramble:

  1. Heat oil in a saute pan.
  2. Add mustard, urad seeds, red chilies and curry leaves. Wait for mustard to crackle.
  3. Add the chopped onions and some salt. Cook on med-heat until onions begin to turn golden brown. Watch the amount of salt that is being added as the fish already has salt in it.
  4. Add green chilies and chopped garlic and saute for a minute or two.
  5. Add the spiced fish flakes and combine well.
  6. Cook for another 10 minutes on med-high, stirring often to prevent burning. The fish has already been pre-cooked, so this step is only to impart a crispy scrambled texture to the fish and it should not take more than 10-12 minutes.
  7. Add shredded coconut and chopped cilantro. Combine and saute for a couple more minutes and turn off the heat.

Serve hot with steamed rice and fish curry – the best combination ever!!!


I recommend using a non-stick pan to save you from having to scrape through a burnt bottom and lots of scraping afterwards.

2 Responses to “Fish Puttu / Scrambled Fish with Spices”
  1. PoppyBhavan says:


Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] like it, there’s nothing better than putting together a meal of fish curry served with fish puttu. I’m drooling […]

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