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Kerala Style Karimeen Pollichathu (Pearl Spot)

Karimeen pollichathu (pearl spot) is one of the “star” foods of Kerala, marinated pearl fish is wrapped in banana leaf and grilled resulting in one of the delicious fish delicacy of Kerala.

Pearl Spot/Karimeen: 1 large
Onion: 2 medium, sliced
Tomato: 1 medium, chopped
Green chillies: 1 or 2, slit
Ginger: 1 inch, sliced or grated
Garlic: 4-6 cloves, sliced finely
Kashmiri chilly powder: 1 tsp
Fresh pepper powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Vinegar: 1 tsp
Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Coconut Oil: 1 tbsp

To marinate fish:
Kashmiri chilly powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder: A fat pinch
Pepper: A fat pinch
Lime juice: 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt: 1/2 tsp.
Coconut Oil: 1 tsp


Marinate the fish with Kashmiri chilly powder, pepper, turmeric, lime juice, and salt. Keep aside for 10-15 min.
Heat a pan with 1/2 tsp coconut oil, and lightly sear one side of fish, probably a minute or two.
Do the same with the other side with 1/2 tsp of coconut oil and keep it aside.
Slice the onions, finely slice or grate ginger, garlic, and tomatoes.
In another pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil, add in curry leaves.
Add the onions, green chilly, ginger, and garlic, saute for two minutes. Then add in the Kashmiri chilly powder, turmeric, pepper powder, salt and mix well.
Saute it until the tomatoes are incorporated and all mixed. Switch off the fire and keep aside.
Lightly heat a plantain leaf on stove top (this is done to make the leaf unbreakable and also gives a nonstick effect which we need for this curry).
I used a big leaf and then sliced into two. Now to assemble the fish, place one sprig of curry leaf. Place half of the masala on top of it. Then place the fish on top of it and place another sprig of curry leaf. And then top it with the rest of the masala. Fold in from all 4 sides. And make it into a packet, secure it tightly with a string.
Heat a skillet or tawa with little coconut oil, place the packet on top and simmer the fire for 5-7 min on each side.
If needed drizzle little oil and then turn to other side, oil helps the leaf from not sticking to the tawa. About 5-7 minutes is needed.
Serve hot, untie the string, and open the packet the flavor is OMG! Enjoy this as an appetizer or simply as a snack.