Perhaps, the most acclaimed seafood preparation from the backwaters of Kerala, Karimeen Pollichathu is a much loved delicacy of the state for two reasons; one for the fish itself and the second, for its unique style of cooking.

The fish is first marinated with flavors, shallow fried and after that wrapped in a banana leaf with more spices and aromatics; and after that at long last smoked over wood fire. Since wood fired stoves have turned into an extravagance nowadays, you can either moderate cook utilizing a barbecue, pan or oven.

Despite the fact that this dish works best with Karimeen, you can utilize other fish excessively like Spanish mackerel, Indian mackerel, snapper filets, pomfret or even tiger prawns.

1. 2 whole Karimeen/pearl spot
2. 1 cup coconut oil (to be used in small quantities at different stages of the dish)
3. 2 sprigs curry leaves

For marination:
4. 1 tsp red chilli powder
5. ½ tsp turmeric powder
6. ½ tsp garlic paste
7. ½ tsp ginger paste
8. Salt, to season
9. ¼ tsp black pepper powder
10. 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the coating:
11. ½ tsp mustard seeds
12. 2 green chillies; finely chopped
13. 2 large garlic cloves; finely chopped
14. ½ inch ginger, finely chopped
15. 2 sprigs curry leaves
16. 6 – 8 shallots, finely chopped
17. ½ tsp coriander powder
18. ½ tsp fenugreek powder
19. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
20. ½ tsp red chilli powder
21. 1 ripe tomato; finely chopped
22. 2 banana/plantain leaf; cleaned well and no tears
23. Salt, to season

• Remove the guts and clean the fish well; pat dry and keep aside for marination. Score the fish lightly.
• Make a marinade using all the ingredients listed with as little water as possible. Smear it well on the fish and keep aside for at least 2-3 hours or overnight if possible.
• Heat 4-5 tbsp coconut oil; add a few curry leaves to the hot oil and shallow fry the fish on both side till half done. Remove and keep aside.
• Into the remaining oil, add mustard seeds and crackle. Then add chopped green chillies, ginger-garlic, curry leaves, chopped small onions and sauté well.
• Next, add a paste of coriander powder, turmeric powder, fenugreek powder and red chilli powder and sauté again.
• Add the sliced tomatoes, season with salt and sauté till the mixture comes together but not completely mushy.
• Warm the banana leaves lightly over a flame to prevent it from cracking while rolling into parcels.
• Place ¼ th of the masala on the banana leaf, place one fried fish on top and then spoon more masala on top.
• Wrap the fish into a neat parcel and secure using thread or toothpicks. Repeat the same for the second fish.
• Heat a few spoons of coconut oil in a tawa or flat pan to smoking hot and place the wrapped fish parcels inside. Reduce heat to lowest and cook covered on either side for 15 minutes each.
• Open and serve warm with lemon wedges.

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