Tomato Coconut Fish ( Steamed in a Banana leaf )
Steamed in a banana leaf this fish is flavorsome and light . Very easy to make once one gets past the nervousness of using banana leaves for cooking - Took me forever to attempt my first Patra Ni Maach . This is another variation of the same technique as used in patra ni maachi .
The banana leaf is heated over fire for a few minutes . This softens the leaf and makes it more pliable and easy to wrap the fish in . The wrapped ' packet ' is then heated on a girdle and baked in the oven ( 160C ) for about 15 minutes or steamed for the same amount of time , till done.
The banana leaf when heated infuses the fish with it's aromas enhancing the flavors of this delicious festive dish .
1 large Pomfret/surmai cut into 5-6 pieces......(you can try with any other sea fish--but these 2 are preferred- I used fillets of Sole )
wash well & anoint with a teaspoon of turmeric & juice of a lemon & keep aside while you prepare the topping
Tomato Coconut Topping
1/4 Coconut (or 2tbsps dessicated coconut --but fresh wins handsdown anytime!)
8 Green Chillies.
3 Cloves Garlic (more if preferred)
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Jeera Powder
1 Teaspoons Rai Paste ( make a paste on a sil butta as it wont grind in the blender to a fine paste )
1Teaspoon jaggery(can use sugar instead)
2 Tomatoes (sliced and cut once into half)
1-2 Tablespoons Mustard Oil.
GRIND the above ( NOT the tomatoes ) to a fine paste and then add the tomatoes and some curry leaves.
Adjust the above ingredients for the topping as per your taste .
Take a lrage banana leaf--hold it over a gas flame and let it soften a bit 2-3 minutes.Place it on a clean work surface and gently press the centre rib--flattening it.Cut large squares of the banana leaves-large enough to wrap each fish piece in. Oil one side of the leaf .
Place the fish on the banana leaf .Cover the fish liberally with the tomato coconut mixture on the exposed side.Wrap each piece in the oiled square of banana leaf , neatly tuck the edge in and tie the parcel with thread / secure with a toothpick .
Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and gently fry each parcel for just a brief spell till the banana leaf colour turns dark.
After all the parcels have been lightly fried just so the colour changes to dark green collect them and place them either in a colander and steam in a cooker for 15minutes OR place on a tray and bake in the oven 15-mins till done.(150deg centigrade seems fine)
The rai paste and the mustard oil give a nice kick to the fish .Serve unwrapped .