Meen Pollichadhu (Pearl Spot wrapped in Banana Leaves)

Packed with flavours from a Keralan spice garden, Reza Mahammad and Deepu combines locally caught fish with raunchy ingredients
By Reza Mahammad
Meen Pollichadhu (Pearl Spot wrapped in Banana Leaves)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 1
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 10 mins marinating
  • Effort: easy



  • 1 pearl spot (300g), whole
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 banana leaf, or a large piece of foil
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

For the marinade:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4cm piece of ginger, shredded
  • 3 green chillies, shredded
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • a dash of water

Tips and Suggestions

If you can't buy pearl spot, you could use a small lemon sole. A good way to soften banana leaves and make them easier to wrap around the fish is to heat them over an open flame for a few seconds.


1. Clean the fish and make 2 gashes on each side using a sharp knife. Mix the lime juice with the chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Rub this spice-mix over the surface of the fish and set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan and add the ginger, green chillies and onions. Fry for about 5 minutes before sprinkling in the curry leaves, chilli powder and coriander powder. Stir and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, adding a dash of water if the spices are beginning to catch on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the onions to cool.

3. Smear the fish with the spiced onion mixture and set on a banana leaf or a square of aluminium foil. Wrap the banana leaf or foil around the fish to make a neat package.

4. Heat the coconut oil in an earthenware casserole and place the packet of fish in the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the fish feels soft to the touch. Take it out of the pan and open the aromatic spiced packet at the table.

Rate This Recipe