Green Chutney fish in Banana leaves

December  5, 2011
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  • Serves 3 to 4 people
Author Notes

An old Indian sub-continental recipe from the homes of the Zoroastrians, passed down from friends and adapted along the years.

In this recipe the marriage of green chilli, coriander and mint is sublime – the leafy pungency of the coriander, the sharp fragrance of the mint coupled with the grassy heat from the green chilli brings out the aquatic essence of the hake or haddock (use only a chunky meaty white fish) together with the addition of coconut which add exotic nuttiness – all this results in a match made in heaven. Try using coconut milk mixed with desiccated coconut if you can't find fresh coconut! —Sumayya Usmani

What You'll Need
  • Green chutney - grind the following into a smooth, fine paste:
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 3-4 de-veined thin long green chills
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons freshly dry roasted ground cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 grated fresh coconut
  • Fish and other stuff:
  • 3-4 pieces fresh white firm flesh fish such as halibut, cod, haddock or hake
  • long pieces jute twine to tie parcels
  • 2-3 banana leaves found in oriental shops, cut into pieces big enough to wrap fish and keep soaked in warm water before use
  • oil to fry
  1. Marinate the fish pieces in the green chutney for unto 45 minutes then wrap into banana leaf ‘envelope’ style and tie with string, the fish should be completely covered.
  2. Heat a little oil in a shallow pan and fry the fish on low heat on each side for about 7-8 minutes and until done - alternatively barbecue on a medium fire
  3. Partially cover the pan as the fish will splutter quite a bit besides the steam also helps in cooking the fish faster. Maintain low heat throughout. Serve immediately once ready!
  4. Great served with freshly boiled basmati rice and a lentil curry

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Sumayya is a food writer and cookery teacher who grew up in Pakistan, but has now found home in Glasgow. Sumayya is passionate about sharing the flavours of her homeland with a view to highlight Pakistani cuisine as a distinct one. The author or two cookbooks: Summers Under The Tamarind Tree (Frances Lincoln) and Mountain Berries and Desert Spice (Frances Lincoln, out April 2017), her writing reminisces about food and memories growing up in Pakistan. She writes for many publications, appears on television, and co-presents BBC Kitchen Cafe weekly, on BBC Radio Scotland.

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