Karimeen Pollichathu is a traditional and popular dish from the state of Kerala, India. It is a preparation of Karimeen (Pearlspot fish) that involves marinating the fish with a blend of spices, wrapping it in a banana leaf, and then pan-frying or grilling it. The dish is known for its aromatic flavors and unique presentation.
Here’s a typical recipe for Karimeen Pollichathu:
- Karimeen (Pearl spot fish): 2 whole fish
- Banana leaves: 2 large leaves (cut into rectangular pieces)
- Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tablespoon
- Red chili powder: 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper powder: 1/2 teaspoon
- Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon
- Salt: to taste
- Coconut oil: for frying
- Curry leaves: a few sprigs
- Clean the Karimeen (Pearlspot fish) thoroughly, removing scales and gutting it while keeping the head and tail intact. Make a few diagonal slits on each side of the fish to allow the marinade to penetrate.
- In a bowl, combine ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, black pepper powder, lemon juice, and salt to make a marinade.
- Rub the marinade all over the fish, making sure to coat it well, including the slits. Allow the fish to marinate for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate it for a few hours for better flavor absorption.
- Heat a pan or griddle and drizzle some coconut oil on it.
- Take a piece of banana leaf and lightly heat it on the pan for a few seconds to make it pliable.
- Place the marinated fish on the banana leaf and fold it to enclose the fish completely. Secure the edges of the leaf with toothpicks or by tying them with a string.
- Place the banana leaf-wrapped fish on the pan or griddle and cook it on low to medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. You can also grill it instead of pan-frying if desired.
- Once the fish is cooked and the banana leaf is slightly charred, remove it from the pan.
- Open the banana leaf carefully to reveal the flavorful and fragrant Karimeen Pollichathu.
- Garnish with fresh curry leaves and serve the dish hot with steamed rice or appam (rice pancakes).
Karimeen Pollichathu is known for its delightful blend of spices and the subtle flavors infused from the banana leaf. It is a favorite among seafood lovers visiting Kerala and is often enjoyed as a special treat during festive occasions or celebrations.