When winter months start to set in Sydney, I remind myself of our trip to Kerala which brings wholesome, joyful, satiated, heart-warming feel and with the help of our culinary champion, my mother-in-law, I bring to you our favourite fried fish packets wrapped in banana leaf.
- Take clean fish, make gashes and toss in a mixture of chilli powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt. Keep it aside for an hour. (I didn’t use chilli powder at this stage as my kids find it spicy)
Composition of the mixture: (for 2 fish)
Chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
Lemon juice – ½ tablespoon
Salt – as required
(Although Pearl spot fish was originally used in the recipe, Pomfret, Spanish mackerel can also be tried)
- Fry the fish beautifully both sides in a little amount of oil.
3. In the meantime, put a pan on medium heat, add 2 tbsp of coconut oil, saute diced onions/ shallots until translucent, then add finely chopped ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves. Saute well until half cooked, then add finely chopped tomato.
|Shallots – 10-15 ( or 1 onion)
Tomato – 1
Green chilli – 2
Ginger – 1 inch
Garlic – 4-5
|Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Salt – as required
4. After a minute, add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Blend well. Sprinkle little amount of water, cook until well done and turn off the heat. Transfer it to a bowl. This looks like a red gravy.
- Take a reasonable piece of banana leaf as the recipe calls for folding and wrapping the fish, securing with a twine or toothpick.
- Apply 1 teaspoon of coconut oil onto banana leaf, then put a generous layer of prepared mix (step4), place the fried fish over the mix, sandwich the fish with another layer of the mix.
- Carefully wrap the contents with banana leaf. Make sure it doesn’t rip off or the contents may ooze out. Secure with a twine.
- Toss the fish packs in a griddle pan on medium flame, 5 minutes on each side.
You can see the banana leaf colour has changed; the oil from the leaf has blended with the flavor of the fish. It’s now well done.
You cannot miss out the aroma wafting as you unwrap the pack. Ohs and Ahs follows…