Posted on: December 17, 2020 Posted by: Deepsikha Comments: 4
Shutki Shira

Shutki or Hutki is nothing but dry fish and Shira or Jhul stands for runny gravy. While Sylhetis from all over the world swear by Shutki and Shidol, I go one step ahead and can literally survive on these two for a lifetime. Such is my love and I suppose this is what they call ‘eternal love’. I take utmost pride to repeat it time and again that I am a Sylheti by birth, from heart and from soul. Nothing on earth gives me as much satisfaction as learning more and more about my roots and pass on the same to others, in my own little way, as much as I can.

See Other Sylheti Recipes Here

Shutki Shira

Sylhetis are Bengalis who have there origin and roots in Sylhet (now in Bangladesh) and have some interesting elements in our cuisine that is different from Bengalis who have their origin in Bengal. Whatever we eat, we always come back to our very own Shutki and Shidol at the end of the day. I already have some very popular Sylheti dishes on my blog – Mukhi Shutki, Chingri Shutki, Shidol Chutney, Mishti Kumro diye Shidol and also a classic Manipuri preparation which is called Hawai Asangbi Eromba. All these dishes are earthly, rustic and outcomes of ‘love’. You just don’t eat Shutki or Shidol for the sake of eating, you eat them only when you love eating them and once you love them, you love them forever.

There is a rule of thumb applied in every dish that you prepare with Shutki (dry fish) or Shidol (dry fermented fish) and that is minimum use of spices. There should not be any such thing present that dominates the smell. Remember, the smell of dry fish can be awful for many, but for those who love eating dry fish, smell is the key. There is a huge difference between how it smells when it is raw and how it smells after cooking. To balance the pungent raw smell we use onion and garlic and thus the cooked dish carries a soul satisfying aroma. Soul Satisfying? Really? Yes, atleast for us who love Shutki and Shidol.

Shutki Shira

Shutki Shira can be made in various ways. The idea is to cook dry fish with vegetables and in a runny gravy. People also make it with absolutely no oil. My version includes oil though. To make Shutki Shira I use both Shutki and Shidol. While Shidol gets melted in the gravy and enhances the flavour, Shutki and vegetables mingles together to be the main ingredients of the curry. Also, I have used potato, beans and cauliflower for this dish. You can use vegetables of your choice, although, fresh seasonal vegetables do wonder. Also, instead of dry bombay duck, you can take dry prawns or any Shutki of your choice.

This is how I make my Shutki Shira.


  • 50 gm loitta / lotka shutki (dry bombay duck)
  • 6 shidol (dry fermented fish)
  • 1 potato, cut into small dices
  • 1.5 cup chopped beans
  • 1.5 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 big sized onion, chopped
  • 12 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 6 green chilli, slitted
  • 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1/2 + 1/2)
  • 1 tea-spoon red chilli powder (skip or adjust according to tolerance)
  • 4 table-spoon mustard oil (1 + 1 + 2)
  • as required warm water
  • salt, according to taste


  • Chop the shutki into almost 1 inch pieces and soak in water for 5-10 minutes. Discard the water and lightly fry them in one table-spoon oil. Remove and keep aside.
  • Again, heat 1 table-spoon oil in a pan and add all the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle 1/2 tea-spoon turmeric powder and little salt. Mix well and cover. Over low to medium flame, cook until vegetables are 50% done. Remove and keep aside.
  • Now, heat the remaining oil and add garlic and onion. Sauté until onion is translucent.
  • Add tomato, remaining turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Stir until tomato becomes mushy.
  • Add shidol and salt and stir until shidol becomes mushy. Please note that if your shidol contains salt already, add extra salt accordingly.
  • Add vegetables and give a quick mix.
  • Add warm water so much so that it should cover the vegetables. If you want a more runny gravy, add some more water.
  • Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Open the lid and add shutki. Cover and cook over medium flame for another 5-7 minutes or until vegetables and shutki are well done. Turn off the flame.
  • Your Shutki Shira is ready to be served now.

Serve this hot with piping hot rice and enjoy a complete Sylheti meal. Do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.

Shutki Shira

Happy Eating!


4 People reacted on this

  1. A Baangaal food blog at last. All other Bengali food blogs have tons of sugar in all recipes. Great to find one that’s different from the rest. Although Sylheti cooking style is quite different from the part of Bangladesh I’m from.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your valuable feedback. So glad you liked it. Yes, Sylheti cooking style is a bit different but have the same essence. Keep visiting 🙂

  2. Madam, please keep up your great work. Please include more SYLHETI dishes, especially SHUTKI MAACH and SHIDOL recipes and even fish pickles as well as dry fish pickles. In fact, your work is absolutely superb, but these days people merely watch pictures and browse without actually reading. So I strongly feel that you ought to begin and run a YouTube channel especially for traditional EAST BENGALI recipes including shutki maach or dry fish based recipes which nobody seems to be doing. Trust me, you are already doing a fantastic job madam. So please don’t think that your website is not getting the attention it deserves. I strongly feel you must focus on BANGAAL and Sylheti recipes which are absolutely out of this world, but are now forgotten or simply not known. Once again, please keep up your absolutely wonderful work Madam!!!

    1. Thank you so much for such kind words, means a lot. Comment like this always motivate me to keep going. Will definitely include more of Sylheti recipes here on my blog. I am planning for a dedicated channel for my recipe vlog on Youtube but it might take some time. Meanwhile, you can subscribe to my new Youtube channel The Blissful Diary, where I share little bit of everything including recipes.

      Keep in touch. Take care and stay safe!


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