Avoli pollichathu

Avoli pollichathu
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Pomfret (Avoli) is one of the fleshy and tasty fish varieties popular in Kerala. There are several Kerala style recipes that do justice to the versatility of this marine fish that has a huge fan following among seafood lovers all over the world. Roasting the fish in a banana leaf wrap is one delicious way to cook pomfrets.

Ingredients

6-7 cleaned pomfrets (palm-sized)

For marination

2 1/2 tbsp pepper pods

15 bird's eye chilli (kanthari)

1 ginger

15 garlic pods

15 small onion

5-6 slices of raw mango(6-7 Irumban puli /bilimbi can be used instead of raw mangoes too)

1 cup curry leaves, mint leaves, coriander leaves

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1-2 pinches fenugreek powder and fennel powder (uluva and perumjeerakam)

Lemon juice squeezed from 1 large lemon

1 tbsp coconut

Salt to taste

Banana leaf and fibre as required

Preparation

The ingredients except lemon juice, coconut oil and the powders should be ground together into a coarse paste

Mix lemon juice, the powder ingredients and coconut oil to the mixture

Take half of the mixture and coat each whole fish with the masala

Set it aside

Wilt the banana leaves over flame until they are soft and yielding and slightly brownish

Tear the leaves into smaller pieces that can hold one fish each

Now, spread some of the masala on each leaf and place a fish on it

Spread a little more masala on top of the fish and fold the leaf over it

Tie up each banana leaf packet with the fibre from the leaves

This will secure the packets without damaging the fish

Place a tawa over the stove and spread some coconut oil on it

Lay out the banana wraps on the tawa and cover it with a lid

Let it cook for a few minutes on low flame

Keep flipping them over every few minutes until both sides are cooked

Let the banana leaves turn brown and crispy

When the leaves are about to get charred, switch off the flame and remove the tawa from the heat

The hot and steaming pomfrets can be unwrapped and devoured with rice, pathiri, vellappam or nan as you choose.

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