1. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the fennel seeds. After a minute, add the coriander and cumin. Mix well.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, green chile and onion. Stir and let this cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato and the salt. Continue cooking until the onions become translucent and the tomatoes are soft.
3. Reduce the heat to low, then mix in the turmeric and red chile powder. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan and stir well. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Put the spice mixture into a blender and grind it to a paste. Transfer it to a bowl and stir in the coconut milk.
5. Coat the fish pieces with the marinade. Place them in the refrigerator and let them sit for 30 minutes.
6. Wipe the banana leaves with a damp towel. Place a piece of the marinated fish in the center on each of the leaves. Place a few curry leaves on the top of the fish. Carefully wrap the fish so it looks like a package. Tie each one with a piece of string.
- Serve with plain rice.
7. Set the packets into a steamer basket and steam the fish for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.
8. When done, remove the packets from the steamer. Cut and remove the strings while leaving the packets intact. Place one packet on each plate.
4 halibut pieces
1 1/2 Tbs oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbs ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, minced
1 green chile, minced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 plum tomato, seeds removed and chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
4 banana leaves
The name for this recipe in Malayalam, the language of Kerala, is Meen Pollichathu, or Steamed Fish. I have created my own blend of spices for this easy to make Indian recipe with a marinade that delicately flavors the fish while it steams in a beautifully wrapped banana leaf package. Since steaming fish takes just a few minutes, this is recipe can be easily prepared during the week. It will impress your guests as well.