Imagine a fish that is coated in coconut chutney, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, this dish is one of the hallmarks of Parsi cuisine – influenced by the fine blend of Gujarati and Persian cooking. No Parsi celebration is complete without their most famous and mouthwatering dish Patra ni Machhi, which literally means fish in leaves, and in this case refers to pomfret wrapped in a banana leaf. It is an absolute standard on every Parsi festive menu and must come from the community”s seafaring and coastal days.
2 whole Pomfret fish
¼ cup lemon juice
1 cup fresh coriander coarsely chopped
4 green chillies chopped
½ cup fresh grated coconut
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 to 8 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sugar
curry leaves( Optional)
2 nos of Banana leaves
Cut and clean the fish. you can make fillets out of it or can cook the whole fish. If using the whole fish make some cut in the body of the fish, so that the fish can absorb the marinade easily.
Sprinkle salt and half of the lemon juice over the fish and set aside for 30 minutes preferably in the refrigerator.
Grind the fresh coriander, green chillies, coconut, cumin seeds, garlic to a fine paste.Add salt, sugar and the remaining lemon juice and mix well.
Apply this marinade to the fish and set aside for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Cut out the vein of the Banana leaf with a sharp knife after it is cleaned and washed. Fold it lightly and toss it around on the burner for a little while, till it starts to wilt a little. This will make sure that the Banana leaf is softer and easier to handle and not hard and brittle.
Place the marinated fish in the center of each banana leaf and smear rest of the chutney on them.Fold in the ends to make a parcel.
Place the fish parcels on a greased Microwave safe platter. Pour some water in another microwave safe dish which is larger than the one with the fish in it. Place the dish with fish parcel in them and microwave at 900W for five minutes.
At this point you will see the banana leaves turning light brown.Serve immediately with a steamed bowl of hot rice.
Do not open the parcels while serving. Let the person eat by opening them.
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