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Chemmeen/Prawn Pollichathu

Kerala is known for it's seafood delicacies. Chemmeen Pollichathu is yet another delicacy of God's Own Country. This dish is presented as a parcel of banana leaf. On opening the parcel, one can find layers of fried prawns and masala. A lipsmacking dish indeed. It's been a while since I made this dis
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 4 serving


  • 500 gms Prawns
  • to taste Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fennel powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper powder powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic cloves paste

For the Masala

  • 2 sprigs Curry leaves
  • 2 cups shallots Sliced
  • 2 tomatoes Finely chopped
  • 2 Green chilli
  • 1 - 1/2 Ginger " - piece
  • - 15 cloves Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chilli powder - (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fennel Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper powder powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Coconut milk (thick) - (or more)
  • as required Banana leaves


  • Marinate the prawns with salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, fennel powder, pepper powder and garlic paste for at least 30 minutes.
  • Blitz the ginger, garlic cloves and green chillies in a grinder for a few seconds. Keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Tip in the marinated prawns.
  • Cook on high heat till the prawns are done. Drain and keep aside.
  • In the same oil (you may add more oil), add the curry leaves and sliced shallots.
  • Saute till the shallots turn slightly brown.
  • Tip in the ginger-garlic-chilli mixture.
  • Saute till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the chilli, fennel, pepper and turmeric powders and fry for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook till oil separates.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Pour the coconut milk and mix well.
  • Cook till the coconut milk is absorbed.
  • Add the vinegar and mix well.
  • Switch off heat.
  • How to Assemble
  • Clean and wipe the banana leaves dry.
  • Wilt the leaf by holding over the flame. Make sure the entire leaf is wilted.
  • Apply a bit of oil on the centre of the leaf.
  • Put a bit of masala mixture and place a few of the fried prawns over the masala.
  • Spoon a bit of masala mixture on top. You can make 3-4 layers.
  • Now fold the banana leaf to form a parcel.
  • Secure the parcel with a string.
  • You can make more parcels with the remaining prawn- masala mixture.
  • Take a pan and apply a bit of oil.
  • Place the parcel and cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Flip and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Now the parcel is ready to be served.
  • This dish goes very well with Rice.