Chuttuli Meen (Fried Fish with Roast Onion Topping)

This favourite Keralan-Jewish dish, made by Sunitha Divakaran, brims with tart tangy chillies and the sweetness of pearl onions
Chuttuli Meen (Fried Fish with Roast Onion Topping)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 10 mins marinating time
  • Effort: medium



  • 1 grey mullet, (whole, about 400g)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

Ground spice mixture

  • 12 small shallots, (pearl onions)
  • 8 curry leaves
  • ginger, (3cm piece)shredded
  • 3 fat cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 green chillies, split

Stuffed okra accompaniment

  • 8 okra, topped and tailed
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice

Tips and Suggestions

Curry leaves can be bought from ethnic grocers. Any leftover spice mix from this recipe can be frozen.


1. Using a sharp knife, remove the mullet's head and slit the fish along one side. Clean the insides and remove the central backbone. Open out the fillet and place the fish, skin side down on a plate.

2. Sprinkle two tablespoons of lime juice mixed with salt over the fish and set aside for about 10 minutes.

3. Dry-roast the whole shallots, curry leaves, ginger, garlic and green chillies in a frying pan for about 7-10 minutes. The mixture should lose its moisture and have a spicy aroma. Take the pan away from the heat just before the shallots begin to colour.

4. Using a pestle and mortar or food processor, grind the spiced shallot mixture with the remaining lime juice until it becomes a coarse paste. Smear about two tablespoons of the paste over the fillet's fleshy side.

5. For the okra accompaniment: slit each okra along its length but not all the way through. Using a teaspoon, push about half a teaspoon of the ground spice mix into the cavity of each okra.

6. Heat the coconut oil in a heavy frying pan. Fry the fish, skin side down alongside the stuffed okra for about 8-10 minutes. Serve straight from the pan.

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