Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Meen Pollichathu (Banana leaf broiled Fish)

Recipe No: 70
This is a variant of the traditional Karimeen a.k.a. Pearl spot pollichathu. When we went to Kerala for a vacation last year, we traveled around 60 kilometers, only to get this Karimeen Pollichathu from a Toddy shop in Changanacherry- Alapuzha Highway. This is my take on that incredible preparation using an available  local fish.  As Pearl spot is very rare in the area where we are staying, I decided to go with Tilapia which is available in most of the places.  The result is very good, even though it cannot be compared with the taste our own  Karimeen. Other than the Fish, there are two other important ingredients too in this dish. Banana leaves and lots and lots of Curry leaves. When the smell of Banana leaves mingles with the other flavors of dish while broiling, the outcome is simply enticing. Hope you all will enjoy it as much as I.
Ingredients                                          Serves 4
  • Tilapia fillets……........4
  • Coconut Oil………….4 Tablespoons
  • Banana Leaves……..4 big Pieces
    To grind
    • Green Chilly…….........2-3 (I seeded it since I want only the flavor and not the heat as we are using red chilly powder and Pepper powder)
    • Shallots…………...........2 Big
    • Ginger-Garlic paste…2 Teaspoon
    • Red Chilly Powder…..1 Tablespoon
    • Turmeric Powder……1/2 Teaspoon
    • Pepper Powder……….1/2 Teaspoon
    • Lemon Juice……………2 Tablespoons
    • Salt………………………..1 Teaspoon
    • Oil………………………….1 Tablespoon
    To Saute
    • Coconut Oil……………..2 Tablespoons
    • Onion Sliced……………2 Cups
    • Shallots Sliced…………1 Cup
    • Curry leaves……………5-6 Sprigs
    Method of Preparation
    1. Put all the ingredients in the ‘to grind’ section in a food processor or a blender and grind into a course paste.
    2. Marinate the Fish with half of the ground paste and keep aside for half hour. Keep the other half of the paste for later use.
    3. In a shallow pan heat 3 Tablespoons of oil on high heat and shallow fry the fish for a minute on each side. Fish shouldn’t be cooked all the way through or browned. Remove the fish and keep aside till ready to be used.
    4. To the remaining oil in the same pan, add a tablespoon of Coconut oil and add the sliced Onion, Shallots and Curry Leaves and saute till golden brown.
    5. Once browned, add the left over of ground marinade and saute till the raw smell is gone for about 3 minutes on medium high heat. Switch off the heat.
    6. Arrange the Banana leaves and spread a tablespoon of the sauteed onion  mixture on each leaf.
    7. On top of the Onion place a Tilapia fillet.
    8. Spread the remaining Onion mixture equally on the top of all the fishes.
    9. Fold the leaves on all sides so that the fish is secure inside.
    10. Place the fishes seam side down on a baking pan and broil on high for 6 minutes on each side on the second rack from the top of the oven. If you don’t have a broiler it is easy to make in a pan on the stove top. Add a teaspoon of oil into a pan on medium high heat and place the fish wrapped in banana leaf, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side or till the Banana leaf is all charred and the fish is cooked through.
    11. Serve hot with plain boiled rice.
    • Lining the baking pan with an Aluminum foil before placing the fish will make clean up very easy.
    • Banana leaves are available in the frozen section of most Indian stores and some other food specialty stores. In some places fresh Banana leaves are also available.
    • If you are using fresh Banana leaves, it is good to show it on the flame for a few seconds to make it more pliable.

      Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
      serve it to your family with love...


      Jampani Pickles said...

      Hi I am new to this blog. One of my friends madhu from New delhi referred me this blog to learn about all non veg recipes. i was really impressed for these many recipes using using non veg. I am very exited to make my first dish on non veg pickles with your blog inspiration. Thanks alot.

      Unknown said...

      Really nice recipe..looks quite delicious!! When it comes to cooking, the perfect ingredients play a major role behind the perfect meal. I recently decided to buy fish online and they were delicious! Do try.

      Unknown said...

      Just referred your blog. it was amazing to visit and all the information you shared wast extremely useful to anyone. I am really happy if you can share chicken pickle recipe.

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