Grilled Fish Recipe || Baramundi Fish wrapped in Banana leaf || Bengali Grilled Fish Recipe
If there is one recipe for which I don’t mind putting an entire day’s hard-work (technically not really an entire day.. but you get it right?) and enjoy a sumptuous meal at the end.. It has to be a Paturi (banana leaf wrap), especially a Bhetki Paturi. Astonishingly this dish takes just 10-15 minutes to cook, but it’s the preparation that takes all your patience, time and energy.
This is one of those Old Bengal’s or Dear Grandma’s recipes (though to be true to you, none of my grandmas or my maa had ever tried this particular one at home until I took the initiative to try it at home.. At least I am leaving a legacy for my future grand children!!!) that every Bengali is aware of, every Bengali must have relished more than one Paturi at a time somewhere if not at home. Also most of the Bengali houses are aware of how to make a Paturi (excluding my maa and her maa and I hope there’s hardly exist any such creature elsewhere!) , and on a proud note I have been trying this recipe for years now, so I didn’t have to search the world wide web to find inspiration option for the recipe. The process or ingredients to make this dish is always same, the difference will be the quality of fish. That does make the difference. Let me give you all about this recipe:
- Fresh Bhetki or Baramundi fish: you may use fillet which will be boneless or fish chunks as you get in the market with fishbones intact. I say try it with bone as the fishbones have additional flavours to add to the dish. (I had 14 healthy chunky pieces of the fish)
- Coconut– scraped or paste – 1 whole coconut (coconut is for the dry gravy, so more or less of it depends on how much gravy you need to serve with the fish)
- Mustered seeds– 2 table spoons
- White Mustered seeds– 2 table spoons
- Poppy seeds– 2 table spoons (if it’s not available at your place, you may skip this one)
- whole green chilies– 14 for each pieces of fish + 3-4 additional
- Mustered oil – lots of it (though I said lots of the oil, still you will find it very healthy, you will know why shortly)
- Lemon– 1 small
- Banana leaf– (at least 14-28 depending on the size)
- some thread to tie
- First thing first, clean the fish, then marinate with salt- turmeric and some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Leave the fish for about half and hour.
- By the time, scrape the coconut or make a paste of the coconut (it can’t have much of water, don’t use water at all while making a paste of the coconut.)
- Make a paste of the mustered- white mustered- poppy seeds-green chilies (again don’t add much water, you have to add little water to make the paste, but try to keep it thick but a fine paste)
- Taking a big bowl, add the coconut and mustered pasted together, add salt to it (as per taste, remember the fish already has salt in it), some turmeric and two table spoon of mustered oil. Mix everything very well and keep it aside. (some use red chili powder in this paste, it’s up to you. I prefer the fresh flavour of Green chilies in this dish)
- Now coming to the banana leaves, cut the banana leaves into rectangular shapes, remember the shape of each banana leaf should big enough to wrap a piece of fish in it from all side. Not a drop of the content can drip out the leaf wrap.
- Now, you cannot wrap a fresh banana leaf, it will tear as many times as will you try. So, either toss the banana leaves one by one on a hot tawa for few seconds, or put the banana leaves in the micro oven (one or two at a time) for about 20 seconds and they will soften and it will be easy to fold the leaves without tearing them at all.
- Take one banana leaf, add one spoon of the coconut paste on the leaf, then put one piece of the fish, add little more coconut paste on top of the fish, add one whole green chili on top of the coconut paste (you may slit the chili from the middle), drizzle some mustered oil on it (may be 1/2 a teaspoon or few drops), then wrap the banana leaf carefully, and tie it with some thread. (thread secures the content inside and you can cook it without any worry)
- You have to repeat the same process with all the remaining pieces. Now once done, take a pan, once heated, add some mustered oil, about 2 table spoon. Then once the oil is smoking, keeping the heat low, add the wrapped fishes one by one. Add only as much space is there on the pan, don’t overcrowd or place the pieces on top of the other, that won’t work. Now keeping the heat low, cover the pan for 6-8 minutes, you will hear sizzling sounds coming from the pan. after 6-8 minutes, turn the fish wraps over and cover the pan for another 6-8 minutes. This fish doesn’t take much time to cook.
- After 6-8 minutes, it’s ready to eat. The best thing to enjoy this with will be plain hot rice. And I hope you realised that you actually aren’t consuming all the ‘lots of oil’!! This particular recipe is so close to my heart, so favourite to me, Nothing can substitute the joy of having this recipe (Does this seem so Cliché to you!!??).
NOW.. if you don’t get banana leaf What to do???
There is a way out here..
- Mix the marinated fish with the coconut and mustered paste very very well.
- Now take a stainless steel or aluminum made tiffin box, grease the box with oil, then place the fish pieces one by one with the paste on them. Add few green chilies and 1 or 2 table spoon of mustered oil on it.
- Cover the box. Take a pot, add some water in it, remember the height of water level cannot be more than the tiffin box or near the cover of the tiffin box. Let the water come to a boil.
- Now reducing the heat to minimal, place a small stand on the pot (be careful of the boiling hot water), on that stand place the tiffin box and cover the pot. Wait for about 20 minutes, after that take the box out, check the fish, it should cook by this time, if not then may be place it for another 5-7 minutes.
- That is you Bhetki Bhapa (steamed Bhetki)
You are most welcome because I know you are saying that I have such a big heart to be sooo very generous!! 😉 😉 Come on now.. Don’t make me blush so much!!