'Karimeen' (Pearl spot) seared inside banana leaf
Karimeen or Pearl spot is a delicacy in Kerala. Here is how to sear it inside a banana leaf the traditional way in a 4-step process.
- Karimeen (Pearl spot fish): 2 nos (medium seized)
- Chilli powder: 2 tablespoons
- Turmeric powder: 2 teaspoons
- Coriander powder: 2 tablespoons
- Black pepper powder: 2 teaspoons
- Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon
- Ginger Garlic paste: 3 tablespoon
- Coconut oil: 6 tablespoons
- Cashew nut paste: 2 tablespoons
- Coconut milk (1st extract): 1 cup
- Shallots: 1/2 cup (finely sliced)
- Onion: 1 cup (finely sliced)
- Tomato: 1 cup (sliced)
- Curry leaves: As per requirement
- Salt: As per taste
- Banana leaves: For searing
Clean the fishes properly and score on both sides deeply.
Add 1 tablespoon chilli powder, ½ tablespoon turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper powder, 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and salt. Combine well and apply it generously on the fish. Let the fishes marinate for 20 minutes.
Preparing the masala
Put a pan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Fry some of the curry leaves Add 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste. Sauté until the raw smell goes away. Then add the shallots, onion and some salt. Sauté until they start to turn brown. Turn the heat low and add 1 tablespoon of chilli powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon coriander powder and 1 teaspoon black pepper powder. Sauté until the spices give out their aroma. Add the chopped tomato. Mash up the tomatoes using a large spoon or a ladle. Once the tomatoes have disintegrated, add 2 tablespoons of cashew nut paste and mix well. Pour in coconut milk and adjust the seasonings. Sit occasionally until the masala thickens and turns into a loose paste. Then add the remaining curry leaves and turn the heat off. Keep the masala aside.
Put a pan on medium heat and add two tablespoons of oil. Fry the fish on one side for 4 minutes and for 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer the fish to another plate.
Searing in banana leaf
Tenderise the banana leaves by keeping it on a flame until it changes colour and softens. Add some of the masala to the banana leaf and put the fish on top. Add more masala to cover the fish and fold the banana leaf to make a parcel. Tie it with strings to ensure that it remains closed.
Put a pan on medium heat and pour in 2 tablespoons of oil. Put the fish parcels in the oil and cook on both sides for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it rest for 3-5 minutes. Ready to serve.