Baked Pearl Spot-Meen Politchathu


My husband is a true Keralite and a any Keralite worth their salt loves the fish called Karimeen. Also called Pearl Spot, this fish found in the fresh backwaters of Kerala, is a white fleshed, extremely flavorful and scaly fish. Fresh is of course best but here in the US we can only get the frozen variety at the Indian store, and that on occasion. If you cannot get Karimeen, any whole medium sized fish will do ( Tilapia, Red Snapper, etc)
The technique of “Politchathu” is after lightly frying the fish, it is smothered in a thick gravy and then wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled. This is an American version, using parchment paper, foil and oven. This dish tastes more authentic when made with coconut oil.

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Karimeen Politchathu:
Ingredients-
2 whole Pearl Spots
1/2 c coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 lg onion, sliced ( using small red pearl onions is better,if available)
2-3 Roma Tomatoes, sliced
4 green chilies
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp Periyar fish masala
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
3-4 tbsp coconut milk
Few sprigs curry leaves
Chopped cilantro for garnishing
For fish marinade:
1/4 tsp red chili pdr
1/4 tsp fish masala
1/2 tsp salt
A few pinches
turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice20130310-101426.jpg

Method :
Take cleaned fish and rinse well. Make linear cuts and mix all ingredients of marinade and coat fish and inside cavity and gashes. Let sit for 15 mts in refrigerator.
Take 1/2 coconut oil in a frying pan and fry fish lightly on both sides and remove. To the same frying pan, add rest of oil, when heated up add mustard seeds and after done spluttering add chopped onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, green chilies. Sauté until soft. Add all powdered spices and salt and mix well. Add sliced tomatoes. Then add coconut milk and keep mixing until somewhat absorbed…. Should be a thick mixture.
Place the fried fish on a parchment paper and smother with the onion and tomato mixture, add cilantro. Wrap in aluminum foil. Place in an oven preheated at 350 deg… Bake for 20 mts. Serve with rice.

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