Wednesday, May 6, 2015

#319: Fish Pollichathu (aka Fish Wrapped in a Banana Leaf)

I can't take credit for this post, so I'll leave my contribution to the 'taste assessment' portion of this blog post, and say that Fish Pollichathu is just one of the many ways that I love having fish.  The fish comes out of the banana leaf, so perfectly moist and's unreal! It can be hard to locate banana leaves, but my dad managed to get them from the local Asian super grocery store.  I say 'super' because the place is HUGE.  So, try digging around and google-searching to see if you have one of these amazing stores nearby, and get yourself some banana leaves, to make this dish.

And, with that, here's the recipe mom!! Enjoy guys!!

This method of cooking fish is a Syrian Christian specialty in Kerala called Meen Pollichathu.  With the wide availability of seafood and plentiful green plantain leaves this spicy and tangy fish side dish turned into a much sought after delicacy for tourists and all those who visit Kerala.

Tilapia filets- 10
Plantain leaves to wrap the fish (you could use aluminum foil)
Red Onions- 2 chopped fine
Ripe tomatoes-2
Green chillies- 2
Ginger-garlic paste- 2 Tblspns
Coriander powder-1 tspn
Chili powder- 1 tspn
Lemon juice- 1 Tblspn
Fennel powder-1 Tblspn
Coconut Milk- 3 Tblspns
Curry leaves- 2 stems
Olive Oil, Salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1.  Wash and pat dry the Tilapia filets. Marinate with lemon juice, a little salt and pepper and keep aside. Add 1 Tbsp of oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onions and curry leaves and saute until it turns translucent.
  2.  Add chopped tomatoes and keep stirring until the mixture turns mushy and soft.
  3. Now add ginger garlic paste, crushed green chilies, dry powders and saute together for about 5 mins. Add oil if necessary
  4. Turn off the fire, season with salt and pepper to taste and add coconut milk.
  5. For an extra flavor, pan fry the fish without breaking each filet. The interior should be raw but gently fry the exterior to light brown.
  6. Place the fish filets in the center of a piece of dry Plantain leaf. Make sure the leaf is big enough to cover the fish into a packet.
  7. Now, place the onion spice mixture about 1 large Tablespoon of it on each filet+plantain.
  8. Wrap the fish and spice package individually into small packets and place in a baking sheet and broil until the tops are crispy and the spice mix is browned inside the packet.
  9. Remove carefully and serve in the plantain leaf. 

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