Lotiya Shutki

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The Ghoti Bangal rivalry dates back probably from the day the partition of India, or probably even before that. The competition extends cuisine to sports. The chingri bhalo na ilish bhalo (whether prawns are better than hilsa or vice versa) fight will probably never end.

For the uninitiated, here is a little background. If you know about Ghoti-Bangal bonhomie (or rather, the lack of it) already, skip the next two paras. Those who originally hailed from present Bangladesh are the Bangal brigade, while those who lived in West Bengal belong to the Ghoti section. Bengalis take the Ghoti-Bangal fight so seriously that the price of hilsa or prawns depends on the winning of East Bengal (representing Bangals) or Mohun Bagan (the Ghoti team) football clubs on the day of match. Imagine the irony being, at present several team members in both the teams are not even of Indian origin.

When we talk about Ghoti and Bangal, we just can’t stop without bringing into account the style they cook. I am a Bangal, and so I am generally biased towards the Eastern sideJ, ok, at least for the cooking part of it. The richness of spices among the Bangal cuisine is somehow missed in the Ghoti style, which rely on mainly the sweet taste of the curry. While frying and gravies are the main essence of the Eastern style of cooking, boiling, roasting demands the attention from the Ghoti brigade.

All said and heard, there is one particular dish which even many Bangals fear to consume, leave apart the Ghotis – it’s none other than the Shutki, the dry fish curry. This dry fish curry is mainly had by the Bangals who originally hailed from Chittagong, a coastal district of Bangladesh. Many fishes are cleaned and dried in the sun, but the most popular being the Bombay duck or loitta.

Once while browsing through one of the very popular Bengali restaurants in Bangalore, I came over a Shutki preparation, but just below it was a little phrase written in bold and italics – “Not for the weak at heart” – yes of course this very preparation is not for the faint hearted. The pungent smell of the dry fish along with the hot and spicy gravy makes this typical Bengali recipe a class of its own.


  • 200 gms of Dry Bombay Duck (Shutki)
  • 1 cup potato, peeled and chopped into 1 inch square
  • 1 cup pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 1 inch square
  • ½ cup julienned onion
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 10 -12 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 4 tablespoon of mustard oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Roast the dry fish for a minute or two to get rid off the sand
  • Keep the roasted fish in lukewarm water with ½ teaspoon salt for about 15min
  • Cut the fish into 2 inch long pieces, discard the head and tail
  • Heat the mustard oil in a wok
  • Sauté the julienned onions, garlic cloves till the onions turn transparent
  • Throw in the ginger-garlic paste
  • Add the potatoes, pumpkin and fish along with the powdered spices and salt
  • Cook till the vegetables soften
  • Serve hot with warm rice and enjoy this Chittagong specialty

Hot Tips – If you roast the fish for long the flesh will come out of the fish. So, just roast it for a minute or two. Don’t pour hot water to the roasted fish; it will make the pieces gooey.

Further Reading – Bombay Duck Fritters, Chanchchra

This post goes to Sujana’s first blog event “Celebrating Regional Cuisine”

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12 thoughts on “Lotiya Shutki

  1. Hi

    I have been try to get a special variety of Shutki called Shidol in Bangalore for ages without any luck. I don’t know if you would have any idea.

    Meantime would you be able to share the name of the restaurant that features shutki in its menu?


    1. Hi rishi,
      I the name of the restaurant in Bangalore is The Naga Kitchen its located at 112, 6th Cross, 6th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore , it was close to the Corner House in Kormangala.
      I am not sure where you’ll get shutki in Bangalore. I left the city quite a few years back.

  2. This looks so good.
    I’m going to try it out tonight.
    I just found out there’s a “little Bangladesh” area of town within walking distance from me in Los Angeles.
    I’m heading there now to look for the fish.

    I love the blog!
    I’m going to be cooking many more of your recipes.
    Thanks so much.

  3. Sudeshna,

    I’s talking about shutki mach to my friends today and stumbled on your recipe. How are you? I can hardly remember when I had shutki mach back home. How can I prepare this ominous dish in this foreign land without neighbors calling 911? I know few Indian markets where shutki mach is available but probably customers of this delicacy either live in a surrounding of fellow delicatessens or have a secret to keep the smell within their kitchen.

    1. Arko,
      I think while you cook shukti just turn on the cooking chimney, I think that would help. If you still have any problem, there is always room freshners 🙂

      1. Can I have your fb id
        So that I can know about the recipe personally.
        Facebook.com/shah.www111 my fb profile address.

  4. Hi, So glad tp find your blog and get this shutki recipe.
    I am from Japan who got married to a guy with bangladesh culture back round.I will surprise him today by cooking this!

    1. Yoshi, So you are the Japanese wife. Have you seen that movie? Its brilliant :). Wish you luck with the shutki making.

  5. Hi,

    Just that being a Bangal cant help posting a comment here about Shutki. My Grandmaa (Aamma) used to add Jackfruit seeds dried and then cooked the same way to Lotia Shutki. This takes the dish a step higher and very very delicious. Also to make it spicier you can add red Chilli paste to it.

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