Patrani machchi (Fish in banana leaf with green coconut chutney)

Fish lovers have to master this one. As delicious as it is attractive - when properly presented - Patrani machchi is one to add to your reportoire.


Serves 4

Approx 600g Pomfret steaks, cut 2cm thick (about 3 per person), or 4 halibut steaks
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 packet of banana leaves
Malt vinegar for sprinkling

For the green coconut chutney
250g fresh or thawed frozen grated coconut or 150g coconut powder
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 bunch of fresh mint
4-5 green chillies
6-8 garlic cloves
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 large lime, or to taste

• Rub the fish with turmeric and salt and set aside while you make the chutney. Put all the chutney ingredients in a blender and process to a thick paste, adding a little water if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lime juice if you like. Coat the fish with the coconut chutney on both sides.
• Remove the stems from the banana leaves and string the sides (just like stringing green beans). Cut them into squares big enough to wrap the fish steaks in. To make them supple, run each piece over a burner or a hot plate until it changes colour and becomes soft. Do not overdo it; just passing it over the heat once on each side should be sufficient.
• Wrap each piece of fish in a banana leaf and then tie with a string (you can use the strings from the banana leaves).
• Place the fish parcels on a baking tray containing about 3mm of water, sprinkle a little vinegar over them, and then place in an oven preheated to 190˚C for 20 minutes. Remove the strings and serve the fish in the banana leaf.

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