Salted and Dried Fish at Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu

Continued from Fishermen at Karaikal, Tamil Nadu.

So? What happens to the fish that aren’t sold? We continued our journey through coastal Tamil Nadu. I was sure I would sight fish being dried somewhere along the beaches. Not faraway from Karaikal, at Poompuhar, I saw the women folk of fishermen community at the job. The villagers use centuries old method of salting the fish and leave them out to dry in direct sunlight.

Salted and Dried Fish at Poompuhar

Women were eviscerating whole fish, then these fish were cleaned and washed in buckets of sea water. Interesting!

Salted and Dried Fish at Poompuhar

One of them told me they had stacked them layered with salt initially, after the curing period, they are laid out in rows to dry. Drying them increases the shelf life of these products. Fresh fish if not handled and salted properly are prone to both bacterial and fungal attack. So this curing with salt which is easily available, is the most popular method adopted by villagers for preserving them. People around do gather to purchase the salted and dried fish at Poompuhar.

No other kind of processing, other than salting and drying of these fish was done in this village. One can add other ingredients like herbs, vinegar, suagar or spices to enhance the flavor, texture and color. That would require a good processing and manufacturing unit and lot of investment. For these simple villagers it was the simple salted way!

Krishna Mandapam, Mahabalipuram
Fishermen at Karaikal, Tamil Nadu

42 Responses to “Salted and Dried Fish at Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu

  • This is so fascinating. People are so smart. I think the baskets of fish are so pretty, too.


  • Thanks for continuing your story of the fishing communities. Their method of preservation certainly looks effective, although I'm sure they would be happier if they didn't have so much unsold fish to cure.

  • A
    when he is captured
    and let him dry in the sun
    he is a dried fish !!!


    Interesting post,
    its a good way to keep the fish for a long time !!!

  • Just fascinating!
    Was this a road trip you took?

  • in the philippines we use the same technique. fried dried fish is good to dip in a vinegar and chili dipping/

  • Another marvelous and interesting post, Indrani! Love your photos and always appreciate what you have to say about each of them. I feel that I have been able to learn so much about your country through your posts and I love that! Hope you have a wonderful week!


  • Isn't it amazing how hard some women must work to exist? This looks like tedious work to me. It's fascinating to learn about though!

  • I love fried dried fish! Yum! Your pictures made me hungry 🙂

  • Indrani: What an interesting process, I freeze all the fish I fillet and keep.

  • That's a lot of dried fish.. but nutritious!

    Love the colour of her clothes!

  • I come from a coastal town in the Phils, and our fishermen use the same technique they do. I used to love them especially the boneless ones. Good with lots of rice and dip in vinegar with onions and tomatoes on the side, yum!

  • Can u believe i went right near poompuhar and didnt go anywhere near the coast???we were on a temple spree and didnt have time 🙁 but the pics make it appear similar to a 'fishy' experience we had near Alibag!

  • That's a very interesting post !
    Besides the fish I love the red Sari !

  • Hi Indrani,
    Your world is a wonderful world!! I like your amazing photo-stories 🙂
    Goodmorning from Athens

  • It is indeed fascinating. Interesting reading about cultures and ways of living that are so different from my own.

    Love the photography too!


  • Beautiful photos of a really interesting subject. Do these villagers ever smoke the fish? Smoked fish, mmmm…. I think that prolongs their life, too.

  • A common sight at beaches. Not to mention the smell that gets to you first! I think I have also seen them dry it on a line at some places.

  • When I was small, I used to eat salted fish with porridge before going to school. My dad used to sell these too in a shop.

  • I lost yr url for a while..i am so glad u dropped by my blog so i can bookmark it. i have missed your stuff

  • Very interesting. And delighted to see the process is absolutely natural- which one doesn't come along often these days.
    I love the last image Indrani! Very well shot.

  • This was very interesting to me and your photographs from the village are wonderful. I love to learn about different places and you do such a great job of making me feel like I've been there through your words and shots.

  • Always a fascinating post from you.. with the best photos to support it.

  • It's a lovely foto-feature! Images are interesting!

  • Always an interesting aspect this kind of preserving fish. In our place, fisher folks has similar process. So effective and cost efficient.

  • This is a great cultural post Indrani. Thanks so much.

  • What an abundance!

  • first of all, a great travel and cultural blog u have here! i enjoyed reading this post along with the great photo captures – gives a great insight!

  • interesting info!indigenous method of preserving..good and economical!!!

  • Beautiful post. I was not aware of the process how this is done. But it is definitely vary tasty.

  • I have been to Poompohar twice. Very nice place and you have taken lovely pictures.

  • Very interesting post, Indrani. The pictures are so beautiful!

  • Lovely post… the pictures are really cool and very expressive. Started following you. Thanks for sharing… 🙂

  • interesting pics, u have captured the process in the images very meticulously!!!
    and the post reminds of my trip to coastal gujarat…we were driving to dwarka along coastal highway and suddenly my driver told me to roll up the windows…i said why , he said madam fish smell hai , fish sukhate hai machavare yhan…windows roll karke bhi itna badbu ayega ke aap utli karne lagoge!!..and truely…i did feel like that, inspite of the driver switching on the AC to full and spraying freshner!!..the smell of drying fish was so pervading the whole atmosphere there!!

  • I love your blog. It is so insighful ! I write for a fashion blog and think that you should follow me !

  • very interesting and informative.

  • That's a informative post on preserving fishes. Your images show that its not just fishes but even shrimps that are preserved this way…Thomas

  • Hi Indrni
    Nice blog with the photo.One personal question have you ever tested the salted fish if you not try little bit it very much testy.

  • hmmm….I liked some of them.

  • मछलियों को सुखाने से जो गंध निकलती है मुझे तो वो नागवार गुजरती है। इस प्रक्रिया को इस पोस्ट के माध्यम से परिचित कराने का शुक्रिया !

  • How these folks make use of the resources right in front of them. That was interesting.

  • Interesting as usual ….

  • Interesting. This is also the method adopted in Coastal Kerala.

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