Meen Pollichathu is a typical Kerala preparation wherein fish wrapped in banana leaf is grilled on the stove top. There are many different ways in which this can be prepared. Common preparations include cooking the full fish in the banana leaf – but in such cases, it is usually smaller size fish that are used. For larger fish, it’s the slices which are used for making this. The fish can be marinated and then shallow fried before coating it in a tomato based preparation and wrapping in banana leaf and grilling.
The recipe I have shared here is how I have seen mummy make this. She doesn’t fry the fish. So there is very little oil that is used. And the fish sort of steam cooks inside the banana as we grill it.
I like to use a grill pan when making this, just to see those grill lines…:) But whatever you grill it on, just make sure you cook it on slow flame so that the banana leaf also slowly changes colors and the flavours are all very well absorbed by the fish too.
Meen PollichathuCourse: Fish, Fish StarterCuisine: Indian, KeralaDifficulty: Moderate
A delicious preparation of fish wrapped in a tomato based masala and cooked in banana leaf.
- For marinating the fish
Seer Fish – 4 steak slices (about 300-400gms)
Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
Salt as per taste
- For the masala
Curry Leaves – a few
Small Onion – 25-30, sliced
Ginger – 1 inch piece, crushed
Garlic – 8-10, crushed
Green Chilli – 2, chopped
Chilli Powder – 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
Tomato – 2 medium size, chopped
Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
Salt – as per taste
Kudampuli/Gambooge/Fish Tamarind/Pot Tamarind – a small piece soaked in hot water
Banana leaf and toothpicks
Step by Step Process
- Clean the fish slices and pat them dry. Apply turmeric powder, pepper powder and salt on all pieces and keep it aside while you prepare the masala.
- In a kadai, add the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the curry leaves.
- Next, add small onions and fry till translucent.
- Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli and continue to saute till aromatic.
- Add the chilli powder and coriander powder and cook till the raw smell of spices is gone.
- Add the tomato and cook till the tomato is soft and cooked through.
- Add the salt and pepper and mix well.
- Next, add the tamarind water little by little to adjust as per taste. Turn off the heat and keep it aside.
- Wilt banana leaf pieces for 4-5 seconds on flame.
- Place a little of the cooked masala on the leaf and place a slice of fish on top of it. Cover it with some more masala and wrap the banana leaf like a parcel and secure with a tooth pick.
- Heat a grill pan and apply some coconut oil on it.
- Place the banana leaves on the grill pan and cook on both sides till the banana leaf changes color and you get the nice aroma of cooked fish.
- Take it off heat and let it sit for 5 min before serving.