Meen pollichathu/ Fish fry in plantain leaf wrap

This is a "must try" aromatic & tasty recipe from Kerala  usually done with fresh fish "Pearl spot fish" which is karimeen in Malayalam & Paraimeen in Tamil, marinated with different spices & cooked in banana leaf. 

Fish fillets - 4 ( Any veriety of fish can be used, I used Tilapia fillets)
Oil - For frying
Plantain leaves-  4 ( to wrap the fish)
Cilantro - For Garnishing

For Fish Marination:
Lemon juice - 2 tsp or to taste
Chicken 65 powder - 1 tsp or to taste
Red chili powder - 2tsp
Corainder powder - 11/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4tsp
Salt - to taste

For Gravy:
Onion  - 2 ( chopped finely) or pearl onion-1cup
Tomato - 2 (chopped finely)
Green chili - 1( small, minced) optional
Ginger - 1" minced
Garlic - 5~6 pods minced
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - 2 tsp or to taste
Coriander powder - 1 1/4 tsp or to taste
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp or to taste
Coconut milk - 2 tbsp ( optional)
Salt to taste

For Seasoning:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - As required


Fish fry
  • Wash & clean fish fillets, You can also use whole fish like Pomfret fish... Just do 4 ~5 slit on the fish.
  • Mix all marinate ingredients together & make a thick paste.
  • Apply masala on both the sides of the fish and rest it for minimum 1hour.
  • For whole fish,  apply masala inside the slits also, so it will penetrate inside the fish too.
  • Heat Oil in a pan at low heat & place the fish.
  • Fry on both side til slightly roasted & keep it ready, don't want to fry fish too crispy or overcook as we do for normal fish fry. Continue with all the fillets.

For Gravy:
  • Heat oil in the same pan, add seasoning ingredients as listed.
  • Add chopped onion & saute it till onion turns to golden transparent color.
  • Now add green chili & saute it for 2 minutes in medium heat.
  • Add minced ginger & garlic & saute it until raw smell disappear, then add tomatoes and cook until they become soft.
  • At this stage, add red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, fennel seed powder, turmeric powder,garam masala powder & salt. Mix well and cook it in low heat until oil separates from masala.
  • Adjust spice & salt to taste. Add coconut milk & cook it till its blend nicely with masala, no need to add water.
  • Finally add lemon juice & mix well. Turn off the heat. Garnish with till cilantro & keep it ready for wrap.

Cooking in plantain leaf wrap or final stage.

  • Take a desired size plantain leaf to wrap the fish on all the sides.
  • Wash the leaf,  Place little gravy over it & keep the roasted fish on it. Then again keep little gravy on the fish.
  • Cover & wrap the fish with the plantain leaf like a closed parcel.
  • Heat a tawa or pan, add 1 tsp of oil & place the fish wrap & cover the pan with the lid.
  • Cook it in low heat for 3minutes & then flip the fish wrap and cook it for another 3 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro & serve hot with steamed white rice.
Note: If you are using fresh plantain leaf, it will be quite diffcult to pack fhe fish, so to make it flexible, cut the centre rib & directely keep the leaves on the electric coil in low heat or on a hot vessel or plate. becareful not to brun them. I kept the leave on the lid of the hot pan for 2 minutes.

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