Unakka Chemmeen Chammanthi – Dry Shrimp Chutney

Unakka Chemmeen Chammanthi –  dried roasted shrimps, coconut and dry red chilies make this flavorsome chammanthi.


Many of my friend who visit this blog are aware of my love for condiments. Yup.! No matter how delicious the main course is I enjoy that small dab of achaar or chammanthi on the side. For me that insignificant underrated dish can make the difference between a meal and a great meal. What would a simple curd rice be without the spicy tangy lemon pickle accompanying it? Or the aromatic biryani without the creamy coconut curd chutney next to it? Well my logic is simple. The smallest things can make a huge difference, be it food or life. A simple act of kindness, a good word or a sweet smile can all make the difference between a lousy day, a good day and a great day.

This is a very simple, minimal work required chammanthi that can be had with steaming hot rice. Normally this chammanthi makes for a wholesome meal when served along with hot rice, moru and a vegetable side of choice. I never make meat or fish when I have this for lunch. The flavor of the shrimp is enhanced when roasted and the chammanthi is made spicy by the use of lovely red chilies. This is one of my favorite recipes and a regular at home.

Shrimp Chammanthi


  • Unakka Chemmeen / Dried Shrimps – 100 gm
  • Coconut scrapings – 1/2 coconut
  • Dried Red Chilies – 8 to 10  (you can use 1 tsp chili powder)
  • Shallots – 1/2 cup
  • Salt as per taste
  • Tamarind – small piece (optional)
  • Curry leaves – few

Dried Shrimps


Cleaning the dried shrimps

  • The first and most important part of making this chammanthi is the cleaning of the shrimps. The dried shrimps that you get from the market needs to be washed first as it will contains a lot of salt and sometimes traces of dirt.
  • Cleaning the shrimps can be done in two ways. In the first method you will have to manually pick the head and the appendages and clean the shrimps. This is a time consuming process.
  • In the second method , heat a pan and roast the dried shrimps for about 5 minutes. Now lightly crush the shrimps with your hand, the head and the appendages will separate from the shrimp.
  • Today many Asian shops sell dried shrimps cleaned and prepared. Hence the above two points are meant for those times when cleaned and prepared shrimps are not available. So if you have cleaned prawns on hand go directly to the next step.


Preparing the chammanthi

  • Wash the shrimps in water.
  • Dry roast the shrimps in a hot pan without oil, all the water content is gone and they become a slightly pale color.
  • Blitz these roasted shrimps in the grinder till they are broken down.
  • Add the coconut, shallots, red chilies and the salt to this shrimp and blitz it till it is well combined and powdered. Check seasoning, add more salt if needed.
  • If you are using the tamarind for some tangy flavor grind it with the coconut shrimp mixture now. Don’t grind it too much or it will become like a paste due to the moisture in the coconut.
  • Again heat up a frying pan. When the pan is hot add the shrimp coconut mixture and a few curry leaves and fry it on a low flame till the moisture is gone and you get a dry chammanthi.
  • This last minute frying is not common to all houses, but I do it. It ensures that the prawn is properly cooked and that all the moisture is gone from the chammanthi, and it gets a nice texture.


Chemeen Chammanthi


This is my entry to Ayeesha‘ s Any One Can Cook Series 36. She has a collection of recipes

  • For beginners
  • With less ingredients
  • With minimum amount of time spent

Anyone Can Cook

Check out her link for more info. And come be a part of this amazingly helpful idea.



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