Fish Pollichathu / Meen Pollichathu (2 nd recipe)
Meen Pollichathu is a dish which became popular in the recent past and all restaurants in Kerala worth its name promote this dish. There are different ways of preparing this - some add coconut milk and thick onion paste to this preparation. Also some prepare this after shallow frying the fish. To fully enjoy the dish, it should be prepared and consumed fresh - and directly from the banana leaf wrapping.
1 st marinade:
2 fish slices (pomfret (aavoli)/ or any other fish) or 1 whole fish
4 teaspoon lime juice
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
Wash and clean the fish slices or whole fish until the water is clear (without any dirt). Drain out water completely and gently wipe with a soft kitchen towel. If using whole fish, gently make vertical slits with a sharp knife.
In a serving plate or wide bowl, mix lime juice and salt together. Marinate this mix over fish and keep aside for half an hour.
2 nd marinade:
6 shallots or ¼ piece of onion (white or red onion)
2 small size tomatoes, wash and chopped
2 teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon pepper powder
12 no Indian garlic cloves or 6 big garlic cloves
½ - inch piece ginger
In a small mixer bowl, make a smooth paste of above ingredients. Do not add water when making paste. It should be thick in consistency.
4 teaspoon oil
4 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
2 banana leaves
Cotton thread or vazhanaaru
In a pan, heat oil on a medium heat. Add 2 nd marinade and gently saute on a low heat for 10 minutes until the raw smell goes and water disappears, Keep aside to cool for 5 minutes and gently marinate this paste over fish slices on both the sides. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves.
Slightly smoke the leaf over flame, so that it will be flexible to be wrapped. Wrap the fish in banana leaf and tie it with the vazhanaaru / cotton tread.
Heat 2 teaspoon oil in a wide pan / meen chatty and place the wrapped fish in it. Cover with a tight lid and cook for around 15 minutes, turn it over and cook for another 15 minutes or until done / fragrant. A colour change will also be visible on the banana leaf wrapping indicating that the dish is done. Remove leaf and serve hot with rice and other main dishes like rasam / fish curry.