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    Wrapped sea bass with tamarind and ginger chutney

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    Wrapped sea bass with tamarind and ginger chutney

    This Keralan dish is called pollichathu - or burnt - as the fish is best slightly charred. Serve it with chapattis (see opposite) and this sweet, spicy chutney, pulinji.

    • Preparation time: 30 Minutes, plus 1 hour marinating
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 60 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    • Chutney
    • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
    • ½ tsp Fenugreek seeds, crushed
    • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
    • 2 tsp Groundnut oil
    • 2 Green chillies, finely chopped
    • 100g Fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
    • 1 sprig Fresh curry leaves, or 2 tbsp dry curry leaves
    • 2 tsp Tamarind paste
    • 1 tsp Jaggery or brown sugar
    • ½ tsp Ground black pepper
    • ¼ tsp Ground turmeric
    • ½ Lemon, juice
    • 4 Wild sea bass or cod fillets
    • 1 Coconut
    • 8 Salad onions, trimmed
    • 2 Garlic cloves
    • 5cm Fresh root ginger
    • 2 Green chillies
    • 20 Fresh curry leaves or 2 tbsp dry curry leaves
    • 1 tbsp Groundnut oil
    • 1 tsp Black mustard seeds
    • 2 Dried red chillies, torn
    • 2 tbsp Chopped coriander

    Method

    1. Mix the black pepper, turmeric and lemon juice and rub over the fish fillets; chill for about 1 hour.
    2. To make the chutney, crackle the dried spices in a hot pan with the oil. When they are sputtering, add the chopped chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Fry for a few minutes, stirring. Add the tamarind with 100ml water, the jaggery or sugar, and a little salt; cook for about 10 minutes, until reduced to a paste. Season to taste. Put the chutney in a bowl to cool.
    3. Smash the coconut shell on a hard surface. Reserve or discard the milk. Use a peeler to strip off the brown layer; coarsely grate the white flesh.
    4. Light the barbecue or preheat the grill to medium-high. Chop the salad onions, garlic, ginger, chillies and curry leaves very finely. Heat a small frying pan until very hot; add the oil, then mustard seeds, then dried chillies. Add the onion mix before the spices begin to burn; stir over the heat until brown in parts. Add the grated coconut and coriander; mix well to combine. Add salt to taste.
    5. Pat the fish dry and cover in the coconut mixture; wrap in tin foil or a banana leaf to make a parcel. Cook on the barbecue or under the grill for 8–10 minutes. Unwrap and serve.

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