How to Make Pearl Spot Fish wrapped in Banana Leaf
Clean and make diagonal gashes on the fish.
Finely chop shallots and tomatoes, store separately.
Make a paste of ginger and garlic
Clean the curry leaves and pat them dry.
Clean kudampuli (which is the preferred choice) if not tamarind pulp; whichever is available locally in hot water (20 ml) and leave it till needed.
Heat 5 ml coconut oil in a pan.
Add mustard and fenugreek seeds, allow to pop.
Add curry leaves and chopped onion. Sauté till golden brown (about 5 mins)
Add chopped tomatoes and green chilli sauté till oil separates.
Add ginger-garlic paste sauté for 1 min.
Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt to taste, sauté for a couple of minutes till the raw taste leave the powder.
Now add the kudampulli water and coconut milk, make a thick paste.
Preparing the Banana Leaf
The banana leaf once cleaned and dried with a kitchen towel is ready to use, however it may tear off easily; thus I recommend you to follow these steps.
Switch on the flame (medium-high), hold the banana leaf by it’s ends and move along the fire (about 5 inches above the flame) till the leaf shrivels and blackens lightly. Now you can turn and twist as you wish with this leaf, without the fear of tearing.
Preparing the fish for the final stage:
Rub salt to taste on the fish, then rub the above prepared gravy on the fish, making sure it is all round it and inside the gashes. Stuff inside the fish as well.
Wrap carefully in the banana leaf, tie with a string, care should be taken not to tear the leaf.
Heat remaining coconut oil in a pan, place the wraps and cook no more than 6 minutes on each side.
Serve immediately with lime wedges.
Bawarchi of the Week
Chitra Ramachandran is a very talented home cook who is enthusiastic about South Indian Vegetarian cooking styles.