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Meen Pollichathu

Meen pollichathu is a Kerala delicacy found in most of the restaurants. Meen means fish and pollichathu means burnt/fried. The fish most commonly used in Kerala is the pearl spot fish (karimeen). You can use any firm fish. Traditionally in Meen Pollichathu, fish is first fried, then wrapped in banana leaf with a spicy onion masala and is fried / roasted again on a tawa to get the fried and burnt flavour of banana leaf. Banana leaf gives a unique flavour to the fish and makes it more appetizing and mouth-watering. Meen pollichathu is one of the favourite fish dishes in our house and is a good one to impress your friends or relatives on special occasions.

To make meen pollichathu / fried fish in banana leaf wrap. Fish is first marinated with the spicy onion masala paste, then wrapped over a withered banana leaf, the leaf is wrapped and tied with banana leaf string or a string. The aromatic smell of the fish and masala wrapped over banana leaf will have your mouth watering.



 

Preparation Time : 15 mins

Cooking Time : 40 mins

Total Time : 1 hr 5 mins


Ingredients :

Vela meen (Emperor fish) - 3

Coconut oil - 4 - 5 tbspn

Onion - 3 big

Tomato - 6 large

Turmeric powder - 1 tsp

Chilli powder - 4 - 5 tsp

Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp

Pepper powder - 2 tsp

Garam masala - 1 tsp

Salt - As required

Banana leaf - 1 full leaf

Lemon - 1


Method :

  1. Clean the fish thoroughly, make 2 or 3 deep slits in the fish on both sides for marination.

  2. Finely chop onions and tomatoes and set aside.

Cooking the spicy onion masala.

  1. Take a tawa add coconut oil, when its hot, add chopped onions and saute until its translucent.

  2. Add ginger and garlic paste and stir for a couple of seconds.

  3. Add in finely chopped tomatoes and cook until it turns mushy and oil separates out from the onion masala. Stir occasionally to avoid the masala from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  4. Add all the dry powders and stir quickly on a low flame (so that spices are not burnt). Stir for a few seconds and turn off the stove. Finally sequence few drops of lemon juice.

  5. Allow the spicy onion masala to cool down and grind it coarsely, this allows the masala to be juicy while eating.

  6. Apply spicy onion masala paste along the slitted fish, this helps deep penetration of the spicy onion masala.

Wrapping the fish in banana leaf.

  1. Take a banana leaf and wilt it on a low flame by slowly passing the leaf on fire from one end to the other on gas fire. This will make the banana leaf more flexible in folding and will not tear much. As soon as you pass the banana leaf on fire, you can see the colour change.

  2. Clean it with a damp cloth or run under cold tap water. Remove the excess water and pat dry. Alternatively, wash it and pat dry before you put the banana leaf over fire.

  3. Place the banana leaf and put a layer of cooked spicy onion masala on banana leaf. Place the fish on top. Put a second layer of spicy onion masala on top of the fish and spread evenly.

  4. Wrap the banana leaf like a parcel and tie with a banana string. This prevent the banana leaf from opening. This is done to infuse the fish with all the flavours from the spicy onion masala. Allow to marinate for 10 mins.

Frying

  1. Take a pan or tawa and add about 1 tsp of oil for each side. When hot, place the fish and cook for 5 mins on each side. Total time of approximately 10 mins is required for both sides on a medium flame. Cover cook the fish this allows the oil to splutter out.

  2. When cooked, the banana leaf changes colour to brown and it gives a nice burnt flavour to the fish.

Serve hot.


Pictorial

Take all your ingredients


Clean the fish thoroughly, make 2 or 3 deep slits in the fish on both sides for the marination.


Take a tawa add coconut oil, when its hot, add chopped onions and saute until its translucent.


Add ginger and garlic paste and stir for a couple of seconds. Add in finely chopped tomatoes and cook until it turns mushy and oil separates out from the onion masala. Stir occasionally to avoid the masala from sticking to the bottom of the pan.


Add all the dry powders and stir quickly on a low flame (so that spices are not burnt). Stir for a few seconds and turn off the stove.


Finally sequence few drops of lemon juice.


Grind coarsely the spicy onion masala. Apply spicy onion masala paste along the slitted fish, this helps deep penetration of the spicy onion masala.


Take a banana leaf and wilt it on a low flame by slowly passing the leaf on fire from one end to the other on gas fire. This will make the banana leaf more flexible in folding and will not tear much. As soon as you pass the banana leaf on fire, you can see the colour change.


Place the banana leaf and put a layer of cooked spicy onion masala on banana leaf. Place the fish on top. Put a second layer of spicy onion masala on top of the fish and spread evenly.


Wrap the banana leaf like a parcel and tie with a banana string. This prevent the banana leaf from opening. This is done to infuse the fish with all the flavours from the spicy onion masala. Allow to marinate for 10 mins.



Take a pan or tawa and add about 1 tsp of oil for each side. When hot, place the fish and cook for 5 mins on each side. Total time of approximately 10 mins is required for both sides on a medium flame. Cover cook the fish this allows the oil to splutter out.


Serve hot.


Notes

  • Mainly Kerala dishes they use coconut oil for cooking.

  • The masala has to be thick and not watery. It will be easy to apply on fish, wrap and more important to keep everything inside the wrap.

  • Aluminium foil can be used instead of banana leaf, but the flavour and taste that the banana leaf will add will be missing.

  • Keep stirring the onion masala when cooking. Don’t burn it by cooking on a very high flame.

  • Adding more of turmeric powder helps to remove the raw smell.

  • Salt should be added more in spicy onion masala.

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