This is heaven, this is heart, this is love, this is soul, this is where I belong, this is what I am, this is what I cook and this is what I am proud of – my culture, my cuisine. With every word I am writing, I am getting goosebumps, with every thought I am thinking, I am getting tears in my eyes; probably that’s how you feel when you are so passionately attached to your roots. Yes, I am a proud Sylheti and if you call me the flag-bearer of Sylheti culture, I will so happily accept the tag. Food has always been an integral part of Sylheti culture and wherever we go and whatever we do, this is the one thing that we always hold so dearly to our hearts.
Sylheti cuisine is diverse, full of flavours, utterly delectable and yes, it is incomplete with Shutki (dry fish) and Shidol (dry fermented fish). Many a times I have said and I don’t mind keep repeating – yes, I love Shutki and Shidol, just like many other Sylhetis. I already have few of these recipes on my blog. Recently I have also documented the recipe of a traditional Manipuri dish which is called Eromba. Today, I will talk about the quintessential Sylheti dish and the star of Sylheti cuisine, Shidol Chutney.
Shidol or Hidol (as we lovingly call it) is dry fermented freshwater Puti Mach ans is widely consumed in many parts of Northeast India. Shidol Chutney is nothing but a mishmash pickle made with shidol or dry fermented fish. This is loved by not only Sylhetis but also I have seen many non-Sylhetis relishing this dish. Spicy, hot, yummy and flavourful, this chutney might sound like a side dish, but trust me, we the Sylhetis can complete a full meal just with Shidol Chutney. Loaded with some amazing health benefits, Shidol is also believed to boost immunity level and is a must if someone is down with fever and cold. It is believed to tickle the taste buds and bring back the lost appetite.
The idea of documenting this recipe has been in my to-do list for long and today, when I am actually doing it, my happiness knows no bounds. So, without wasting any further time, let me directly jump to the recipe. Here’s how I make my yummy Shidol Chutney.
P.S. If you bring shidol from a local market, wash properly before use. If you are getting from online/supermarket in a sealed pack, washing is not mandatory. In a sealed pack, Shidol pieces are coated with salt, so, if you are not washing them and using directly in cooking, add extra salt carefully.
- 7 shidol (dry fermented fish)
- 1 big sized onion, finely chopped
- 10 garlic clove, minced
- 5 green chilli, chopped
- 1/2 tea-spoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon red chilli powder (adjust according to your tolerance)
- 1/2 tea-spoon kashmiri red chilli powder
- 3 table-spoon mustard oil
- salt, according to taste
- Wash (use directly from your sealed packet) and keep Shidol aside. (please read P.S. section above)
- Heat oil in a pan and add garlic. Stir for few seconds.
- Add chopped onion and sauté until golden brown.
- Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Now, add Shidol pieces and stir until they become mushy. Add salt if needed.
- Add water and give a proper mix.
- Cover and cook over low flame for 7-8 minutes or until Shidol pieces gets completely mashed.
- Remove the cover and over medium flame, stir cook until all the moisture evaporates and you see oil started separating. Turn off the flame.
- Your Shidol Chutney is ready to be served now.
Serve with piping hot rice along with a bowl of Bengali Masoor Dal (red lentil soup). You can also have it with rice absolutely without anything else. I don’t like my Shidol Chutney to be paired with anything else, it’s just the chutney and rice and my meal is sorted.
Do drop me a comment telling how you like this authentic Sylheti recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.