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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Meen Pullichattu ~ Fish cooked in Banana leaves

Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaf

Meen Pullichattu is a keralite delicacy, and I call it 'divine'. The reason for me to call it that way is that this dish comes from 'the god's own country'.  

Description:  Meen Pulichattu is a dry preparation where the fish fillet or slice is first marinated and pan fried, and then wrapped in a banana leaf along with a dry chili based gravy and again shallow fried to perfection to enhance the flavors of the leaf as well as the spicy gravy into the fish. This can be served as a side dish with Lentil Curry and Steamed Rice or enjoyed as a main dish on its own.

Serving Size: 1 piece of fish per person
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 20 minutes per piece

Meen Pullichattu ~ Fish cooked in Banana leaves


  • 500 grams of King Fish or Pomfret or any other fish fillet of your choice
  • Fresh Banana Leaves
  • Tooth pick to secure the wrapped leaves
  • Coconut oil for frying and cooking 

For *Fish Fry Masala: (grind together to a smooth dry paste)

  • 10-15 dry red chilies (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes)
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin
  • Less than 1/4 tsp roasted methi seeds (fenugreek)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup or little more of water
(Note: This paste can be made in a large batch and stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.)

Ingredients For gravy:

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green chili (or as per taste)
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons *Fish Fry Masala (mentioned in above list)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (or any other vegetable oil)


  1. Before washing the fish pieces, sprinkle 4 to 5 tablespoon of salt and a pinch of turmeric powder on it. Coat well and set aside for 10 minutes. 
  2. Wash the fish pieces thoroughly and drain out all the water. 
  3. This process will remove any unpleasant smell in the fish.
  4. Marinate the fish pieces in the 2 or 3 tablespoons of fish fry masala for 1 hour.
  5. While the fish is marinating, prepare the gravy.   


  1. For Gravy: Heat coconut oil in a sauce pan. Add chopped onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and green chilies and saute all of them till soft and dark pink.
  2. Now add chopped tomatoes and cook till they are well combined with onion.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of fish fry masala, tamarind pulp and salt.
  4. Add few drops of water if needed or if the spices stick to the pan. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes or till the oil separates.
  5. Finally add chopped coriander leaves and stir well.
  6. Set aside to cool down slightly.
  7. In a frying pan, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut or vegetable oil. Shallow fry the marinated fish pieces on both sides. (5 minutes on each side)
  8. Place two pieces of banana leaves overlapping each other as shown in the picture.
  9. Pour a spoonful of gravy on the center of the leaves spreading slightly.
  10. Place a fried fish fillet on the gravy and some curry leaves and coriander leaves on top.
  11. Pour another spoonful of gravy over the fried fish, and very neatly and carefully wrap the ends of the banana leaves and secure the ends with tooth picks.
  12. Heat a pan with some vegetable oil and fry the fish wrapped in banana leaves on low flame for 10 minutes. (5 minutes on each sides)
  13. Now the fish is ready to be served.
  14. Unwrap the fish just before serving. (You can keep them warm in a preheated oven @100 degrees centigrade)

Step by step pictures

You might like other Fish recipes:

Fish Curry

Amritsari Fish Fry


  1. unfortunatly here we cannot get banana leeaves, please give me a substition, thank you

  2. Tried it with pompret too good mashallah