Chutney-stuffed pomfrets

My fisherwoman has been getting us the cutest little pomfrets this past week. They fit snug in the palm of my hand (which, I assure you, is quite small by adult standards; never mind the rest of the vitalstats) and even Avanee can eat one whole. My downstairs neighbour loves to slip them whole into coconut-based curries, the lovely aromas wafting up to my kitchen.

Yesterday, I was scheduled to spend all day away from home, but when she got these beauties, I simply couldn’t resist. I thought I’d cook them and eat them today. But they turned out so yum, my non-seafood-eating husband actually ate one for breakfast. I mean, sound the drum roll, people! Thsi recipe is nothing–it gets done is 15 minutes, if not less. It’s a classic Western Indian classic, and it works so well with a simple lunch of daal-chawal (lentils and rice)or just by itself, with a crunchy kachumber (spiced salad) of cabbage, carrots, and cilantro.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 small pomfrets (or other flat fish of choice)
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 2 green chilies
  • small bunch mint leaves
  • a slightly bigger bunch cilantro
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup rice flour or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. semolina
  • 2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil


  1. Wash and clean the pomfrets. Make a slit on the side and get out all the innards. (Most fish mongers will do this for you.) Drain on a kitchen towel.
  2. Place all the other ingredients, except the rice flour and semolina, in a blender and grind to a paste, using as little water as possible to combine the chutney.
  3. Stuff the pomfrets with this chutney.
  4. Combine the rice flour and semolina in a plate.
  5. Dredge each fish, ever so lightly in the flour mix.
  6. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat.
  7. Place the fish in the pan and cook covered, for about 3 minutes or until the under side begins to turn golden.
  8. Flip the fish lightly, using two spatulas, if required. Cook uncovered for another 2 minutes.
  9. Drain and serve immediately with salad or rice and lentils.

Comments (7)

  1. Anjali June 8, 2011 at 6:37 am

    In Koli they are called kaapte (baby pomfrets) The flesh is very delicate and not threaded like a mature pomfret. All this is from memory of enjoying fresh fish before 1988. Hope you enjoyed yours.

  2. Sayantani June 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I dont like sea foods too but could eat these beauties for all 3 meals.

  3. Mandira June 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    This looks delicious. I made it a few years ago, time to revisit the recipe 🙂

  4. Anonymous June 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    The pomfrets look really cute!!!! 🙂 and ur pics are so good that I could actually taste it in my mind. 🙂 I love it!

    Making the hubby and baby eat what you really love urself is indeed so gratifying.


  5. Sneh | Cook Republic June 9, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Saee I am so jealous of your gorgeous little pomfrets! Love them and miss them so much. We had an abundance of those in Singapore, pink red and black varieties. In Sydney not only are they a rarity, they cost a king's ransom, lol. I love the idea of stuffing them with chutney and am going to try it on some other fish .. maybe Tilapia (red fish). Thnx for sharing!

  6. Aarthi June 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    This looks yummy….you have a lovely blog…I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that

  7. Anonymous December 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Hi Saee, I tried this recipe today and it tasted wonderful. Thanks so much ! Reh

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