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Taste of Kerala Meen Pollichathu (Fish Roasted in a Plantain Leaf)

1. 1 kg pomfret, or fish fillets

For the marinade
1. 1 tsp pepper powder
2. ½ tsp turmeric powder
3. Salt to taste

For the masala paste and gravy
1. 2 tsp coriander powder
2. ½ tsp chilli powder
3. ½ tsp turmeric powder
4. ½ tsp pepper powder
5. 3 dsp refined vegetable oil
6. 1 cup button onions, sliced
7. 10 garlic cloves
8. 3 green chillies, slit
9. A few curry leaves
10. 1 tsp mustard seeds
11. 1 cup thick coconut milk

1. Clean fish in salted water. If using whole fish, make gashes on both sides.
2. Rub the fish well with pepper powder, turmeric powder and salt. Marinate for 1 hour.
3. Grind the coriander, chilli, turmeric and pepper powders with a little water to make masala paste.
4. In a pan, heat 2 dsp oil and saute button onions, garlic, green chillies and curry leaves. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
5. Fry the fish lightly in the same oil and keep aside.
6. Add 1 dsp oil. Splutter mustard seeds. Add the masala paste and saute until the aroma seems right.
7. Add fish and coconut milk.
8. Add sauted button onions, garlic, green chillies and curry leaves. Simmer on low heat until fish is coated with gravy.
9. Wrap each fish in a piece of plantain leaf or greased foil. Tie securely and bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

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