Fish marinated in Indian spices, wrapped in banana leaves and simmered in a pan is a traditional South Indian dish prepared in the Kerala style. This dish is known as  Pollichathu.


  • 1 medium sized fish, scaled and cleaned
  • 2 sprigs spring onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin and coriander
  • 1 tomato, grated
  • 5-8 curry leaves
  • ┬╝ cup coconut milk
  • Oil
  • Enough banana leaves to line the base of the pan (the leaves should be washed and thoroughly dried)


  1. Heat the oil in a pan.
  2. Stir in the finely chopped spring onions, garlic cloves, ginger and garlic paste. Simmer the mixture for a few seconds.
  3. Add in the chilli powder, salt, curry leaves, coriander and cumin powder.
  4. Remove the spice mixture from the heat and grind into a paste using a blender or a mortar and pestle.
  5. If the mixture appears dry, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil may be added.
  6. This spice mixture should form a chilli paste.
  7. The fish should be scaled, cleaned and thoroughly washed. Ensure that excess water is drained from the fish. The fish should be left whole.
  8. Score or cut deep slits onto the surface of the fish.
  9. Marinate the fish with the chilli paste and refrigerate the marinated fish for 1-2 hours.
  10. Place a layer of banana leaves on the surface of a thick based pan.
  11. Arrange the fish and the marinade on the leaves. Wrap the fish with a second layer of banana leaves.
  12. Cover and cook the fish for 15-20 minutes on medium heat.
  13. Remove the lid and the second layer of banana leaves.
  14. Add grated tomatoes and coconut milk on the fish. Cover the fish and cook for a further 5-6 minutes.
  15. The tomato and coconut milk would have formed a gravy.
  16. Ensure that the entire fish is well coated with the gravy.
  17. Remove the fish with the banana leaves.

Serve hot with the accompaniment of rice and salads.