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Patrani Machchi (Patrani Macchi) (Parsi Style … Fish Steamed in Banana Leaves)

A traditional Parsee (Parsi) delicacy, a preparation which is immensely popular and is prepared in various festive occasions like Navroz Nav means New and Roz means Day … New Day… Parsi New Year and also is a must serve in Parsi weddings . Patrani machchi, which means fish cooked in a leaf, can be found across India in different forms in various regions and states. In Bengali cuisine, the dish is called Macher Paturi and has the fish marinated in a spiced mustard paste before being steamed. In Odisha, the dish is called Macha Patra Poda. Patrani Machchi, the Parsi version, uses a delectable mint , coriander & coconut chutney with a dash of fresh lemon juice as the key flavouring, with the  flavour and aroma infused in it by steaming the chutney coated fish in banana leaves.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes, including the time of marination.

Steaming Time: 20 minutes

Serves:4

Ingredients and Quantity:

8 Whole Silver Pomfrets, clean and make incisions on them or other fishes like Indian Salmon (Rawas) , cut into 2.5 inch thick steaks- 8 medium sized steaks / 8 medium sized fillets

Salt- to apply on the steaks / fillet

Turmeric- 3/4th tsp.

Lemon Juice- ½ tbsp.

For the Chutney:

Fresh Coconut, grated / sliced- 1 no.

Coriander- 1 large bunch

Mint leaves- 1 large bunch

Green Chillies- 10 nos.

Garlic cloves- 8 nos.

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp.

Lemon, large juiced- 2

Castor Sugar- 1 tbsp.

Salt- to taste

Ice cold water – a little only if required , chutney should not be runny.

For wrapping:

Banana Leaves, spine removed and discarded – as required

For tying / sealing:

Organic cotton threads / twine- as required.

Or

Toothpicks, wooden preferably eco-friendly bamboo toothpicks-as required

For Steaming:

Water- as required for steaming

Malt Vinegar- 2 tbsp. for steaming

Method:

Rinse the fish fillet, pat dry with a kitchen napkin.

Apply salt , turmeric and lemon juice ,set aside for 30 minutes.

Grind all the ingredients mentioned from grated coconut to salt until smooth.

You may add a little ice cold water to grind it , ensuring that it remains thicker in consistency and not runny.

Apply / coat each side of fish with the chutney.

Prepare the banana leaves by removing the spine, discarding it and trimming the sides and using the pliable part.

Cut them into bigger squares to wrap each coated fish steak/ fillet /piece.  Wipe the leaves and run over the flame so that they become soft and supple. Ensure that they do not burn. Flip them on a hot non-stick pan for a second.

Wrap each piece of the coated fish in a squared banana leaf, tie it with a string, ensuring that it is wrapped firmly.

Place the folded side of parcel which has the fish in a steamer , with water and malt vinegar. Cover and steam for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Ensure that you do not overcook the fish.

Remove the strings and serve the steamed fish in the banana leaf.

You may drizzle a little lemon juice, if desired.

Chef Tips:

  1. You may apply ginger & garlic paste also ,along with salt , turmeric and lemon juice to marinate the fish.
  2. If you are using a whole pomfret ,make sure you make  thin slits / gashes on both sides of the fish and spread the chutney all over the fish, ensuring to add some in the slits as well.
  3. If you prefer eating it baked , preheat the oven to 350  °F ,place the wrapped fish in a shallow baking tin. Sprinkle some malt vinegar and water over the parcels and bake the fish for about 18 to 20 minutes.
  4. If somehow you don’t have banana leaves you may use a parchment paper / food grade aluminium foil to steam the fish, but let me tell you what you are going to miss … you will miss the amazing flavour and aroma that the banana leaves impart into the coated fish while steaming.
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