A Parsi recipe from the Zoroastrian communities of Pakistan, this green masala is made with cilantro leaves, mint, green chiles, and coconut. Its freshness complements firm white fish without masking the flavor with spice. The elegant presentation of the fish makes for lovely little parcels at a dinner party. You can even make it using a whole fish. —Sumayya Usmani
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Sumayya Usmani is a South Asian cookbook author living in Scotland.
WHAT: A pan-fried fish that looks as good as it tastes.
HOW: Place halibut in a marinade of chiles, cilantro, mint, coconut, turmeric, cumin, and lemon. Wrap it securely in a banana leaf, then pan-fry it until cooked through.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Acquiring banana leaves may take some effort, but it’s worth it—not only does it make for a beautiful presentation (impress your friends!), but it holds in all of the flavors of the marinade for a steamed fish that packs a punch. —The Editors
1 to 2
green chiles (like serrano or jalapeño)
bunch cilantro leaves
unsweetened dried coconut
Juice of half a lemon
6-ounce fillets halibut or other firm white fish
Vegetable oil, or other neutral oil, as needed
banana leaves, or enough to wrap each fillet in seperately
Create a marinade by blending the first 7 ingredients (up to the fish) in a blender until they become a smooth paste.
Put the fish fillets in a shallow vessel, pour the marinade over top, and let sit in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or longer.
Wrap each fish in a banana leaf, envelope-style, and tie with string or secure closed with a toothpick. The fish should be completely covered.
In a small pan, add enough oil to just to just cover the bottom and set over medium-low heat. Fry the banana-leaf wrapped fish partially-covered, for about 7 to 8 minutes on each side. (You can also cook it on a grill.)