Fish marinated in Indian spices, wrapped in banana leaves and simmered in a pan is a traditional South Indian dish prepared in the Kerala style. This dish is known as Pollichathu.
- 1 medium sized fish, scaled and cleaned
- 2 sprigs spring onions
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin and coriander
- 1 tomato, grated
- 5-8 curry leaves
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- Enough banana leaves to line the base of the pan (the leaves should be washed and thoroughly dried)
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- Stir in the finely chopped spring onions, garlic cloves, ginger and garlic paste. Simmer the mixture for a few seconds.
- Add in the chilli powder, salt, curry leaves, coriander and cumin powder.
- Remove the spice mixture from the heat and grind into a paste using a blender or a mortar and pestle.
- If the mixture appears dry, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil may be added.
- This spice mixture should form a chilli paste.
- The fish should be scaled, cleaned and thoroughly washed. Ensure that excess water is drained from the fish. The fish should be left whole.
- Score or cut deep slits onto the surface of the fish.
- Marinate the fish with the chilli paste and refrigerate the marinated fish for 1-2 hours.
- Place a layer of banana leaves on the surface of a thick based pan.
- Arrange the fish and the marinade on the leaves. Wrap the fish with a second layer of banana leaves.
- Cover and cook the fish for 15-20 minutes on medium heat.
- Remove the lid and the second layer of banana leaves.
- Add grated tomatoes and coconut milk on the fish. Cover the fish and cook for a further 5-6 minutes.
- The tomato and coconut milk would have formed a gravy.
- Ensure that the entire fish is well coated with the gravy.
- Remove the fish with the banana leaves.
Serve hot with the accompaniment of rice and salads.