The karimeen fish is widely popular in its hometown of Alappuzha in Kerala. Also called the green chromide or pearl spot fish, it mainly dwells at the bottom of freshwater and brackish water all across the state. Since the inception of its massive popularity as a true Indian delicacy, karimeen fish recipes have travelled far and beyond to reach everywhere, from seafood dhabas to star-studded restaurants.
Being a favourite choice of fish lovers in various parts of the region, the karimeen fish or pearl spot fish is part of a variety of cuisines in India alone. For anybody who loves spice-infused fish that comes off the bone easily, roasted karimeen fish brings pure joy. Besides being a gift from God’s own country of Kerala, karimeen roasted or “pollichathu” is a true native of Indian cuisine. A blend of aromatic spices and a timeless cooking technique makes this style of preparation the ideal fit for your vacation.
What’s so special about the karimeen fish?
Besides being a freshwater fish that grows in abundance in the bounty of nature, the unique taste is what makes karimeen a great delicacy. Impeccably balanced with the salinity of saltwater and the sweetness of freshwater, the karimeen fish can be grilled, roasted, fried, curried, and more. The tender and soft fish, when combined with spices, assumes a killer punch and a tang that brings your taste buds to full circle.
The word pollichathu means “roasted in banana leaf.” And that’s exactly how this delicacy is prepared: wrapped in banana leaves with a mix of spices native to its region. The karimeen fish is then cooked to perfection, usually on a houseboat, a riverside cafe, or a home by the paddy fields of Kerala. So how do you prepare karimeen pollichathu at home?
Here’s what you need.
Marinate the fish with turmeric, lime juice, Kashmiri red chilli powder, black pepper, and salt for 10 minutes. Heat coconut oil in a pan at medium heat, and then add ginger, onion, garlic, curry leaves, tomatoes, and green chillies.
Step 2: Add vinegar, Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric, black pepper, and salt to the pan and mix nicely. Take another pan and fry the karimeen fish on both sides for 2 minutes each. Keep aside.
Wrap your karimeen fish in a banana leaf, pour the fried masala mix on one side, and top it off with the marinade that was made in Step 1. Make sure all your fish pieces, or whole fishes, are wrapped in banana leaves.
In hot coconut oil over a tawa at medium heat, cook the banana-leaf-wrapped fish packets on both sides for about 10 minutes each. Once you smell the spices and watch the fish leak through the packet in perfect harmony, it’s ready to serve.
Open the packet and serve your karimeen pollichathu with lime juice and onions.
Tips: When using whole fish, be sure to make incisions across the fish body with a knife before applying the marinade for maximum infusion of spices. Curry leaves can be added to the oil before frying the karimeen fish to prevent it from sticking to the tawa or pan. If you don’t have access to banana leaves, feel free to use aluminium foil. Choice cuts - Karimeen to you! If you enjoyed reading about the traditional karimeen pollichathu recipe, stay tuned for more. You can always get your choice cuts, cleaned and fresh, from Licious. Whichever way you want to prepare your fish, you’ll get the choicest freshwater and seafood for your perfect cooking.
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