The original method to cook this fish is to wrap it with a banana leaf or a turmeric leaf and place it on burning coals. This is a coastal delicacy. I have used an oven to bake the fish instead. You may use any fish of your choice, but the oilier the fish the better. The original recipe calls for the Bangada (Mackerel) Fish.You can change the spice level as per your needs.
Healthy food does not necessary mean bland food. When the food is seasoned well, you don’t need much fat in preparation. This is a delicious way to prepare a fish which is seasoned well and moist when done.
I prefer to cook the fish in a banana leaf for two reasons: one, because of the sweet aroma which is imparted to the fish and secondly, it keeps the fish and masala moist.
I use a broiler for a minute or two, for a crunchy crust (optional step). keep a close eye on the fish if you decide to broil.
This recipe is made best with the whole fish. You can cook the fish with its head or without it. Clean the fish and make big slits in it.
Since the banana leaf tears very easily, place it on an open flame while turning it frequently. You will see it’s more pliable and won’t tear.
Make sure that you don’t add too much salt to the paste.
You will need:
- 1 medium sized trout or sea bass; whole
- 1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
- 4 whole Byadagi Mirch or 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp besan/ chickpeas flour
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
- 1 tbsp cooking oil + some extra to rub on the fish
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1/4 tsp methi /fenugreek seeds
- 1 small onion; finely chopped
- 1-2 green chillies; minced
- 1/2″ ginger
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 2-3 whole peppercorns
- Salt as per taste
- Roast the red chilies, coriander seeds, methi, peppercorns, and the urad dal with a few drops of oil, till aromatic.
- Cool and grind the roasted spices with coconut, tamarind, ginger, garlic, and a few tbsp of waters to make it into a fine paste.
- Add finely chopped onions, minced green chilies, besan, rice flour, salt, and oil to the paste.
- Clean the fish and make slits in the fish. Rub some salt and few drops of oil on the fish.
- Lay the fish on a banana leaf or on an aluminum foil and apply the paste in the cavity, slits, and pat it all around the fish. Wrap the fish with a banana leaf or aluminum foil. Place in a baking tray.
- Preheat the oven at 400F.
- Bake the fish on the center rack for 25 minutes. Turn the fish to the other side after 10 minutes of baking to bake it evenly.
- After 20 minutes open the wrapping and bake the fish for another 5-7 minutes to achieve a crispy crust.
- Serve the fish with roti, rice, dal or fish curry on the side.