Posts Tagged ‘Pomfret’

Meen Pollichathu – Roasted Pomfret Steamed in Banana Leaves – A Kerala Delicacy


2010
03.23

IMG_5833 

You know your family eats a lot of fish when your preschooler looks into the fish tank at school and screams, “Look Mama, fish!! Yummy!!”. Then, pretends to reach out and gulp down the little fishes, rubs his tiny pot belly and says “Mmm tasty, that was goood!!”. Of course, I gave my usual God-whose-kid-is-that?  look and walked away, pretending like I had nothing to do with him. Don’t worry, I never lose him during these acts of disownment. The little piece of embarrassment always follows me, like a gosling does a mother goose. I don’t blame him either – obviously, the only reason I didn’t abandon him completely and let him hold my hand a little while later (when I was sure, we were off the radar of the folks who heard his verbal sacrilege by the aquarium), was because I understand it must be hard for his 3 year old brain to distinguish pet from food, when most of time, we are serving him dinner with what the neighbors flaunt around as pets :P.

Yes, we the Tharakans, are die-hard carnivores and fish for us is a staple. Our recent favorite has become the Meen Pollichathu. Traditionally, this recipe requires that the fish along with the spices be wrapped tight in banana leaves and roasted on a greased pan, allowing the fish to cook in the steam trapped inside the leaves. Instead of grilling them in a pan, I bake them in the oven. The banana leaf imparts an amazing flavor to the fish  and if you are lucky to get your hands on some(I get mine from the Asian market), that would be the ideal way to make this recipe. If you can’t, use aluminum foil for wrapping and rest assured, minus the banana leaf flavor, everything else will taste just like the original.

If it is your first time trying this recipe, I’d suggest you use one of the less fishy fishes like salmon, halibut, tilapia or any other of your favorites. If you like it, only then try the recipe with the whole pomfrets. I say this because fish recipes can get too overbearing at times and you need to approach it with caution until you have acquired a taste for it.  Also if you are using fillet and not the whole fish, reduce the spices a tad bit and use only 1/2 the quantity of lemon juice mentioned in the recipe.

IMG_5830

Ingredients

2 whole small pomfrets, cleaned 
salt  to taste 
11/2 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp kerala garam masala
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds powdered
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp coconut Oil/ refined vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 –3 sprigs of curry leaves
1 cup finely sliced shallot
2 green chilies
2 medium tomatoes. chopped
3/4 cup thick coconut milk (from the can would be perfect)
12 thin slices of fresh lemon ( this makes a huge difference in the taste and is a must)

Directions

  • Make a few slits till the bone on both sides of the fishes, perpendicular to the spine. (If you are using  fillets, omit this step)
  • Mix salt, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp each of red chili and paprika powder and 1/2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste and lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Marinate the fish with the above mixture inside out and let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  • Heat oil in a pan, slightly roast the fish until it is caramelized on both sides but not fully cooked.
  • Take out the fish and set aside. If there is any liquid from the marinade left, keep it aside to add while making the masala.
  • In the same pan, splutter mustard seeds, add fenugreek powder, green chilies, curry leaves, shallots and sauté until the shallots are golden brown.
    Add tomatoes, all the remaining spice powders, ginger-garlic, leftover marinade and sauté  until the tomatoes form a mush.
  • Add thick coconut milk and salt to the masala and sauté on low heat until the masala mixture thickens and reduces to about half the original quantity.
  • Add fish and coat it thoroughly with the masala gravy.
  • Wrap each fish along with 6 lemon slices each(3 on each side) in a piece of banana leaf or greased foil. Secure with tooth pick if using a the leaf.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and onions, serve hot.
  • Meen Pollichathu – Roasted Pomfret Steamed in Banana Leaves – A Kerala Delicacy


    2010
    03.23

    IMG_5833 

    You know your family eats a lot of fish when your preschooler looks into the fish tank at school and screams, “Look Mama, fish!! Yummy!!”. Then, pretends to reach out and gulp down the little fishes, rubs his tiny pot belly and says “Mmm tasty, that was goood!!”. Of course, I gave my usual God-whose-kid-is-that?  look and walked away, pretending like I had nothing to do with him. Don’t worry, I never lose him during these acts of disownment. The little piece of embarrassment always follows me, like a gosling does a mother goose. I don’t blame him either – obviously, the only reason I didn’t abandon him completely and let him hold my hand a little while later (when I was sure, we were off the radar of the folks who heard his verbal sacrilege by the aquarium), was because I understand it must be hard for his 3 year old brain to distinguish pet from food, when most of time, we are serving him dinner with what the neighbors flaunt around as pets :P.

    Yes, we the Tharakans, are die-hard carnivores and fish for us is a staple. Our recent favorite has become the Meen Pollichathu. Traditionally, this recipe requires that the fish along with the spices be wrapped tight in banana leaves and roasted on a greased pan, allowing the fish to cook in the steam trapped inside the leaves. Instead of grilling them in a pan, I bake them in the oven. The banana leaf imparts an amazing flavor to the fish  and if you are lucky to get your hands on some(I get mine from the Asian market), that would be the ideal way to make this recipe. If you can’t, use aluminum foil for wrapping and rest assured, minus the banana leaf flavor, everything else will taste just like the original.

    If it is your first time trying this recipe, I’d suggest you use one of the less fishy fishes like salmon, halibut, tilapia or any other of your favorites. If you like it, only then try the recipe with the whole pomfrets. I say this because fish recipes can get too overbearing at times and you need to approach it with caution until you have acquired a taste for it.  Also if you are using fillet and not the whole fish, reduce the spices a tad bit and use only 1/2 the quantity of lemon juice mentioned in the recipe.

    IMG_5830

    Ingredients

    2 whole small pomfrets, cleaned 
    salt  to taste 
    11/2 tsp black pepper powder
    1 tsp turmeric powder
    4 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1/4 tsp kerala garam masala
    1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds powdered
    2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    2 tbsp coconut Oil/ refined vegetable oil
    1 tsp black mustard seeds
    2 –3 sprigs of curry leaves
    1 cup finely sliced shallot
    2 green chilies
    2 medium tomatoes. chopped
    3/4 cup thick coconut milk (from the can would be perfect)
    12 thin slices of fresh lemon ( this makes a huge difference in the taste and is a must)

    Directions

  • Make a few slits till the bone on both sides of the fishes, perpendicular to the spine. (If you are using  fillets, omit this step)
  • Mix salt, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp each of red chili and paprika powder and 1/2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste and lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Marinate the fish with the above mixture inside out and let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  • Heat oil in a pan, slightly roast the fish until it is caramelized on both sides but not fully cooked.
  • Take out the fish and set aside. If there is any liquid from the marinade left, keep it aside to add while making the masala.
  • In the same pan, splutter mustard seeds, add fenugreek powder, green chilies, curry leaves, shallots and sauté until the shallots are golden brown.
    Add tomatoes, all the remaining spice powders, ginger-garlic, leftover marinade and sauté  until the tomatoes form a mush.
  • Add thick coconut milk and salt to the masala and sauté on low heat until the masala mixture thickens and reduces to about half the original quantity.
  • Add fish and coat it thoroughly with the masala gravy.
  • Wrap each fish along with 6 lemon slices each(3 on each side) in a piece of banana leaf or greased foil. Secure with tooth pick if using a the leaf.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and onions, serve hot.
  • Kerala Style -Meen Curry With Thengapal/Fish Curry With Coconut Milk


    2010
    02.14

     

    fish in coconut milk200

    Had one of those rare weekends when everything went as planned. A quiet Saturday with friends of the family, a flawless Sunday with a long afternoon nap, clean to-do list, and best of all, with Monday being a holiday, absolutely no dreadful Sunday-Evening-Jitters. Yes, I bask in the  luxury of weekends and all. But the torture I go through at dusk every Sunday,  at the thought of having to get back to work the next day, makes me sometimes wish they never happened. Silly me, I agree. I choose the monotony of a work week forever, over a roller coaster of work, fun,  and back to work again.

    Anyway, well rested and in high spirits on Monday evening I drove to the market, having decided to treat my DH with some well deserved home cooked meal. He did a fine job at making the weekend perfect for me. Among many other things, he’d gotten the  house  immaculately spic without me having to raise a finger (sigh! if only we had more valentines day weekends). So, when my fish monger showed off his wears of some the finest silver white Pomfrets that I hadn’t seen for a long time, I was glad my luck was still sticking around. And, like I always do when I see a good buy, I went amuck. So, if you are not a big fan of Pomfrets, I’d suggest you come back to this site in probably a year’s time, because the next gazillion posts are going to be Pomfret this, Pomfret that and Pomfret this and that too ;).

    By the time I was  done with the bulk Pomfret shopping, there wasn’t much time left to cook. So, I changed plans and decided to make this quick and easy fish curry in coconut milk, one of R’s favorite.  The recipe is similar to the Kerala Red Fish Curry , except that you thicken the gravy with rich coconut milk right at the very end. At my sister S’, insistence, if you haven’t already noticed, I managed to stick in a piece of kudampulli in the pictures too. She has me convinced that the pictures of fish curries in my previous posts looked incomplete without one of these jutting out like a sore thumb (*rolling eyes*). So, there S, I hope it meets your standards now :D!

    fish in coconut milk

    Ingredients

    1 lb fish cut into slices
    2 tsp red [amazon-product type=”text” text=”chili powder”]B000JMAXNS[/amazon-product](base it on tolerable  spice levels)
    1 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”paprika”]B000NO5CRY[/amazon-product](mainly for the red color) 
    1/4 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”turmeric powder”]B000JMAXOC[/amazon-product]
    3 –4 shallots finely sliced (if you don’t have these you can use one med sized onion) 
    1 tsp grated ginger
    1tsp finely chopped garlic 
    2 kudampulli (camboge fruit rinds)
    (If you don’t have this you can use tamarind instead, but the taste won’t be authentic)
    1/4 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”fenugreek seeds powder”]B000JMBEGS[/amazon-product]
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    1/2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black mustard seeds”]B001E6CFAW[/amazon-product]
    2 –3 tbsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”coconut oil”]B002DGNP10[/amazon-product]/any vegetable refined oil
    2- 3 oz of canned coconut milk ( canned coconut milk is much thicker and creamier than fresh coconut milk. If you are using fresh you might need about a cup in this recipe) salt to taste

    Directions

  • Soak kudampulli in a cup of hot salt water and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black mustard seeds”]B001E6CFAW[/amazon-product], when they pop add in the curry leaves and [amazon-product type=”text” text=”powdered fenugreek”]B000JMBEGS[/amazon-product].
  • Add sliced shallot and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add crushed ginger and garlic and sauté till oil separates.
  • Mix together [amazon-product type=”text” text=”chili powder”]B000JMAXNS[/amazon-product], [amazon-product type=”text” text=”paprika”]B000NO5CRY[/amazon-product] and [amazon-product type=”text” text=”turmeric powder”]B000JMAXOC[/amazon-product]in a little warm water to make a smooth paste, add to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add soaked kudampulli along with the water and allow it to boil for a few minutes.
  • Add the fish pieces.
  • Close the lid and let it boil it again.
  • Once the water boils, reduce the flame and let it simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes until the fish is cooked. Add more water if necessary.
  • Add coconut milk and mix in gently. let it simmer for 5 minutes before putting off the flame.
  • Season again with a little oil, mustard and curry leaves if desired.
  • Serve with Rice or Kappa