Dry shrimp gravy (Sukkil sungta ambat)

When I was a kid I simply hated dried seafood. I never even wanted to taste it because of its smell. But now, since husband is a big fan of dried shrimp, I have also started eating it. I have not tried cooking dried fish after I had to throw the entire gravy because of bad smell, I might have brought wrong fish, don’t know. So I decided to try only dried shrimp till I will be able to recognize the dried fish :).

I brought a pack of dried shrimp from the Chinese grocery store here. I knew only kismuri with it. Few days back when I had called my husband’s grandmother- fondly called as Mamayi, who is a great cook, gave me this recipe. I prepared it the same day and absolutely loved it. Now I think I should be more open to dried fish also, who knows? I may like it :).

Following is the picture of dry shrimps that I used for this dish

Aayi’s recipe has a slight variation. She does not add potato to this gravy.


½ cup dried shrimp
1 cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
½ cup onion
4-5 red chilies
¼ tea spn tamarind extract or 1-2 pieces of normal tamarind
3/4 tea spn coriander seeds
¾ cup potatoes cut into big pieces (optional)

Heat oil and fry coriander seeds. Grind them with coconut, tamarind and red chilies to a smooth paste.
Heat remaining oil and add onions. Fry till they turn slightly brownish. Add shrimp, potatoes and ½ cup water(while cooking shrimp some people add ¼ cup raw onion for extra taste). Cook till potatoes are tender.
Now add ground paste, salt and sufficient water. Cook for another 6-7mins.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 20mins

24 thoughts on “Dry shrimp gravy (Sukkil sungta ambat)”

  1. Shilpa again you made me smile coz many people don’t know about dried fish and the tastes are alien to may. Combo with potato is best for dried fish….. there I go ;). I would be writing about it too. One suggestion share pictures of the raw material form dried fish you use the curry doesn’t give any clue whats in it.

  2. Hi Shilpa, sukil sungta ambat is my favourite,also it can be added to valibhaji randay.Hey which dried fish did u use,generally we use sukil bangde (mackrel) right? ya it shld be kept in cold water for sometime before preparing.I love it with tepla ambat:)

  3. Injipennu, Deepa, I used ‘dry shrimp’ and it is not necessary to soak shrimp in water. If you are using any dry fish, the recipe would be different and also we need to soak them in water for sometime. Since dry shrimp are very small and thin, it is not required to soak them.

    Thanks Anjali. I will wait for your recipe :).

    Vitz, I knew you would like it, if you had told me this in India, I would have cooked this for you (yeah I know, my vegetarian house owner would have thrown me out of the house :D)

    1. Geeta Mirjankar-Mavinkurve

      It is important to soak or precook dried shrimp or any dried fish in water because dried seafood contains sand or some amount of “earthy material”. Soaking dried seafood releases this gritty material. It is important NOT to drain the soaked seafood because the gritty material will end up in the curry. Washing it like rice (before cooking) after soaking for a few hours (or cooking it in water) helps in getting rid of the gritty stuff.

  4. yes i ment fish only,i know that we dont need to soak dry shrimp in water,but since u said that your fish curry was smelling I suggested that,
    also I prepare sukil bangdya ambat with teppal.

  5. I love to eat dried shrimp. In the Hispanic world, we use dried shrimp wih whipped eggs as an ingredient to make and fry these little patties and after we fry we add a mixture of red chile sauces as a combination with nopales which we use alot during Lent and Easter.

    My question is: Does dried shrimp have an expiration? Does it go bad after a year storage. Does it smell bad? Something like ammonia!!

    I have a bag that I have left over from last year, and while I was cooking it, it did have a little funny smell.

    I have looked in some of my cook books and have not found the answer. I you have a minute, I would love to look into this somewhere!!.

    Thank you have a great day. Laura [;-))

    Shilpa: Laura, usually I have seen that these dried shrimps are kept in an air tight bag for over a year. Occasionally, we would spread them under hot sun to take out any moisture that might have got into it. So if you see some difference in smell or the color, it is better not to use them.

  6. Hi Shilpa,
    I just landed at your website today and its great indeed.
    I had a quick question

    In your reciepe’s when you menttion coriander seeds does it mean dhaniya seeds or cumin seeds (rai in hindi)

    Shilpa: Please click on the link to find out.

  7. Janet Stephens


    This recipe was yum..i tried it today being my weekend off..My husband enjoyed it too. May be i will use this recipe for preparing salt fish curry too. I am sure it wud come out great.
    Thanks so much.I was always wondering where cud i find this recipe and i hv found it at last.


  8. Do you just crunch through the shells on the dried shimp? I tried some today in dashi and the shells put me off…

  9. but we use amsula instead of tamarind n coriander seed quantity is bit more. love to see our kind of recipes in ur blog, keep it up! i knw mooga paays, i wud really like to share it. tell me how???

    shilpa: Sorry, at this point, there is no option for reader’s recipes.

  10. Thanks a lot for this recipe. Like you, I never had a taste for dry shrimp but my husband bullied me into buying some from Chinatown. I made this curry today and we both loved it! Thanks again.

  11. thanks for the pictorial representation of each stages of cooking.i tried this recipe it turned out well and was tastey also.

  12. Hi Shilpa,
    Thanks for the recipe. My hubby loves dry shrimp. will surprise him wit the ambat and kismuri 🙂

  13. No you have to soak them. This removes excess saltiness and reconstitutes the shrimp. How long you soak them for is the big question? Some say overnight and to dry them on paper towel. However, I wonder if that’s too long. I mean it’s not like split or chick peas, these guys take long.

    Am gonna cook the shrimp (100g) in a slow cooked tomato sauce. Almost chutney like.

    If anyone knows the right amount of soaking, please leave a response here. Also, an aquarium pet shop was selling the same thing for cheaper, is it ok for humans to buy that stuff? Thanks.

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