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Karimeen Pollichathu (Pearl Spot cooked in Banana Leaf)

We Keralites love our Karimeen (pearl spot) in any form. Karimeen Pollichathu is one such traditional delicacy of Kerala that is recommended to majority of the tourists visiting God’s own country. Though we usually prepare Karimeen this way, one can use pomfret or any firm fleshed fish. I have always loved this dish, but never could prepare at home as Pearl spot wasn’t easily available. Though I could have used pomfet, I wanted to stick to the traditional way of using Karimeen. So the other day when I came across the name Pearl spot on the product list of a fishery, I didn’t hesitate to order a kilo of it. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Got well cleaned fresh fish. Thankfully I didn’t have to rack my brains over what to prepare.

D not being much of a fish lover, I was a bit apprehensive while serving it to him. To my surprise, he thoroughly enjoyed the dish and went on praising me for the preparation. I too was indeed pleased with the preparation.

Karimeen Pollichathu (Pearl Spot cooked in Banana Leaf)

Karimeen Pollichathu (Pearl Spot cooked in Banana Leaf)

We Keralites love our Karimeen (pearl spot) in any form. Karimeen Pollichathu is one such traditional delicacy of Kerala that is recommended to majority of the tourists visiting God's own country. Though we usually prepare Karimeen this way, one can use pomfret or any firm fleshed fish. I have alway

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Pearl spot fish medium sized
  • 2 cups shallots Finely sliced
  • 2 tomatoes Finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs Curry leaves Finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs Curry leaves for frying
  • as required Banana leaves or aluminim foil
  • fish Oil for frying

To be finely chopped or ground to a coarse paste

  • 1 - 1/2 inchs Ginger
  • 3 Green chillies

To be ground to a fine paste

  • 15 chillies (adjust to suit your heat tolerance) Dried red
  • 1 tablespoon Peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Shallots
  • 15 cloves Garlic

Instructions
 

  • Clean and score the fish and keep aside. Finely grind the ingredients mentioned above.
  • Apply it on the fish, including inside of the incisions as well. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Place 2 sprigs of curry leaves on it. This is done to avoid the fish from sticking to the pan.
  • Fry the fish on high flame till brown on both sides.
  • Drain and keep aside. If any marinade is left, keep aside. You can use the remaining oil for cooking the dish.
  • Finely chop the ginger and green chillies or grind them to a coarse paste.
  • Heat the remaining oil, if any in a pan. You may add more oil if you need. Add the chopped curry leaves along with sliced shallots. Saute till the shallots are caramelised, i.e brown in colour.
  • Add the green chilly- ginger paste and marinade, if any. Saute till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till oil separates.
  • Switch off heat.
  • Take the banana leaves and show over the flame so that it wilts. This is done so that one can fold the leaves without breakage. You can omit this step if using Aluminium foil.
  • Take a banana leaf. Place a spoonful of the masala and spread it thinly.
  • Place a fried fish on top of the masala.
  • Spread another spoonful of masala on top of the fish.
  • Cover the fish and secure with a string. Repeat the process with the remaining fish.
  • Heat a pan. You may drizzle a bit of oil. Place a fish parcel on the pan. Cover and cook on low flame for 5 minutes on either side.
  • Serve hot.
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