Meen Pollichathu – Fish in Banana Leaf

 

This dish Meen Pollichathu (Fish cooked in Banana Leaf) was taught to me by good friend Divya in Chendamangalam, Kerala. This is a deliciously spicy dish that’s great served with rice or just with a parotta and will impress your guests for sure.

Traditionally this dish uses a fish that is local to the fresh waters of Kerala called Karimeen, which is not readily available in the UK so I have opted for sea bream but grey mullet or snapper lends itself well.

The banana leaves are a really important element in this dish as not only does it hold the whole dish together it imparts a flavour and keeps the fish moist and succulent.

Meen Pollichathu – Fish in Banana Leaf

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Serves: 2

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large whole sea bream, scaled and gutted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 small shallots
  • 2 fresh green finger chillies
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 tsp coconut vinegar
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 banana leaf, enough to wrap the fish twice.

Method

Prep the banana leaf by trimming into sheets to wrap the fish, taking care to remove the central spine of the leaf.  Wash in water, dry the leaves and run the leaves over a flame, this seal the leaves, making them more pliable.

Slash the fish and rub with 1tsp salt and ½ tsp turmeric.

In a wok or frying pan heat the coconut oil and fry the fish until sealed.

To make the masala place the ginger, garlic, shallots, fresh chilli green, chilli powder, pepper, salt and coconut vinegar in a masala grinder and grind until smooth.

Coat the inside and outside of the fish in all the masala, and leave to marinade for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes over lap the banana leaf sheets in a cross shape, place half the tomatoes, curry leaves and onion on top of the leaves.

Place the masala marinated fish on top of the leaves, add the remaining curry leaves, slices of onions and tomatoes, and wrap the fish in the leaves securing with a cocktail stick.

In a hot wok, add a little coconut oil and place the fish parcels in the wok frying for 10 minutes on each side.

Serve with steamed rice or parotta with wedges of limes.

Kerala Prawns

In the last few months I’ve closed down my beloved Malabar Aaanaa food business for various reasons and returned back to paid employment (it’s not that bad), but to keep my hand in so to speak I’ve created The Dish Served to satisfy my need to create food and to share with lovely people.I had a number of recipes on my old site and wanted to share them afresh, so I’m in the process of transferring all my recipes over to here.

Kerala Prawns  is a spicy little dish to serve,  that will satisfy those cravings for deep flavours of the sea and warm destinations.

SERVES: 2

PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOKING TIME: 20 mins
INGREDIENTS

RICE:

1 cup basmati rice

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2 green cardamom

salt to taste

drop of oil

MARINADE:

1 inch of ginger, grated finely

1 fat garlic clove, finely grated

salt to season

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp Kerala garam masala

MASALA:

1 diced large red onion

1 inch of ginger, finely grated

2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated

1 tsp, heaped Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 sprig fresh curry leaves

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 tomatoes chopped

100ml coconut milk, thick
200gm shell on prawns, deveined. I like to use the shell on prawns as it gives a better flavour to the dish.

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp fresh coriander leaf, finely chopped

METHOD:

Add all the marinade ingredients to the prawns and mix together, put to one side until needed.

Wash the rice.

Heat the oil for the rice and add the whole spices, let the aroma develop from the spice.

Add the rice to the oil, spices, 2 cups of water and salt, cook until the water has disappeared.

While the rice is cooking start the masala, heat the coconut oil in a wide pan and add the mustard seeds, wait for these to start crackling and add the curry leaves, then the onion and cook over a medium heat until translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic, cook for a further 2 minutes and until the raw small has gone then add the chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric, continue to fry for 1 minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook out until the oil separates from the mixture, once this happens place the masala in a bowl.

In the same pan add the coconut oil and heat, then add the prawns and all the marinade. Fry the prawns until nearly cooked, then add the masala and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and reduce to the desired consistency, finish with some chopped coriander leaf.

The rice should now be ready to serve with the prawns.

Please use your hands to eat this its a traditional way and will connect you with the dish

Enjoy !