I’ve got friends from almost all the states of India and I had been asked this one question by most of them who were planning to visit Kerala, ” Sari, tell me one sea food delicacy which should never be missed out while tasting Kerala cuisine” . My answer was and will always be ” Karimeen Pollichathu”. This dish is prepared using Pearl spot fish ,marinated and then covered in banana leaf and baked on hot plate/tawa. Once you open the banana leaf after cooking process, the tasty juices run through your fingers leaving a heavenly aroma. Recently, one of my best friends had visited Kerala. He also had a great time in Kerala but this one thing he told me helped me in observing my own state’s food industry practices. According to him, there is no breakfast served after 10.30 am. In fact, eating out at Breakfast has not become a part of Kerala culture.His statement made me wonder why Kerala is not serving breakfast even after owning the maximum number of breakfast items in the country. Lunch and dinner is served lavishly. I told him that may be the place he visited did not have many breakfast joints and a generalized opinion about it may not be correct. My home town ,Payyanur has many breakfast serving restaurants. Bombay Hotel is the best of all of them.
Okay, let me come back to pearl spot. Karimeen is largely found in the back waters of Kerala and Karimeen pollichathu is a christian delicacy. With time, the recipe has been absorbed into every family and has become an integral part of Kerala cuisine.I thank god for letting me live next to this beautiful back water area. My home town is blesses with a part of river, sea and back waters. So the choices i get to for picking a fish for lunch is lavish. 🙂
Pearl spot fish/Karimeen – 3 nos
turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Green chillies chopped – 1 tbsp
garlic finely chopped – 2 tbsp
ginger finely chopped – 2 tbsp
Small onions – finely chopped – 2 cups
tomatoes finely chopped – 1 cup
Curry leaves – 3 strands
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
salt – to taste
1. Clean the fish and make incisions on it using a sharp knife. Marinate the fish in some turmeric powder,red chilli powder, black pepper ,lemon juice and salt for at least an hour.
2. Shallow fry the marinated fish on hot plate /tawa for few seconds. Take care not to break the skin of the fish while frying.Keep aside.
3. Add some oil in a kadai . Fry the onions, finely chopped ginger,garlic, green chillies and tomatoes in it.Add some turmeric,red chilli and pepper powders and saute for 2 minutes.
4. Take a banana leaf ,big enough to cover a single fish with it as shown in the pic. Spread some sauted masala,step 3, in the middle of the leaf.Now place the half-cooked fish on top of this masala. Now again spread some more masala on top of the fish. Cover the fish with the banana leaf . Use thread to tie a knot around the cover. 🙂
5. Heat a tawa and add 2 tbsp oil . Now place the covered fish on top and cook on low flame for 10 to 12 minutes or until the leaf turns light brown.
6. Turn the side and cook on the other side of the fish using the same procedure.
7. Serve hot as a starter or with rice, roti and any kind of breads. Enjoyyy!