Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pearl spot/Karimeen Pollichathu-A Kerala Delicacy.

Location-A house in exact Kottayam, enroute Kumarakom.
Characters-Amma, Appa, Uncle, Brother, Big sis, Li'l sis.
Date and Time- 27th Jul '07-- 12.15pm.

Act-1 : Scene-1

Big Sis enters home, back from her last minute shopping, whistling an old malayalam song.Steps into the kitchen, pulled by a wonderful aroma, to find her Li'l sis a little gloomy.She seems to be little desperate with the fish getting cooked on the stove about it getting burnt outside with the inside, left a little (again)uncooked.The big sis, a lazy cook, gives some suggestions, out of her sheer experience in cooking, who is a fish lover,( with not much of experience with Non-veg cooking) falling for any kind of it, doesn't bother about the taste.Sampling some she admires her sister, a perfectionist in cooking.Together they decide to continue with their improvised tips.


Amma,who has helped her daughter with the marinade, enters the kitchen,after an urgent work upstairs.She too tastes a bit of it and admires her little daughter.The big sis is giving a hand to her li'l sister with the cooking part,simutaneously digging and fishing(the fish,of course)out the beauty, attempting to photograph the best one.The li'l sis stares angrily at the big sis now with her clear cut words that she is more
concerned about her brother, to please him, who wanted the dish to be done and got the fish that morning, with much effort, paying through his nose.


The big sis with her camera focuses the fish,laid on the dining table.Big sis, who had been more used to picturing veggie dishes, learns the hard fact that fish is Not photogenic.Appa and Uncle encourage her and help her out with a few tips to improve the presentation.


In the kitchen, the sisters finish off with the fish.Brother,who has been away to the town enters and the family gather round the table and settle down for the Lunch, with all the fun and laughter appreciating the skills of their youngest family member.

***Curtains down.***

Verdict of the Sisters-

Pollichathu, especially when it comes to fleshy Karimeen/Pearl spots, require 20-30 minutes of slow cooking for EACH.A number of 9 fish were done that noon,on a twin stove and the whole procedure, lest the time to marinate, from start to finish took 3-4 hours.Blame the delicacy.

Here is my sister's recipe, reproduced;

What I Used:

Pearl Spot/Karimeen - 4, cleaned and slit on the side.

For the paste:

Shallots - 10
Onions - 1 big
Ginger - a 2" piece
Garlic - 10 cloves
Chilly powder - 1 tbsp
Pepper powder - 2 tsp
Vinegar - 2 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 strands
Salt - to taste
Coconut oil - for frying
Tender banana leaves - to wrap the fish in while cooking

How I Made It:

1. Make a paste with all the ingredients mentioned.

2. Marinate the fish well in the paste.It may not completely stick tothe fish, but make sure that it is mostly covered.

3. Place the fish in the banana leaf and wrap gently.

4. Pour some oil in a wok.Gently place the wrapped fish in, close with a lid and cook on a low fire till both sides are done. This took me around 30 mins, per fish.Garnish with onion rings, tomatoes, cucumber and a piece of lime.

I found an interesting version cum video clipping of the same dish.
Click HERE to view.
P.S-Thanks a lot for going through the long story(if you had) :)....
Wishing you all a Happy Independence day!


  1. That fish is laughing merrily :p

  2. I saw this at your sister's!! Looks mouthwatering:))

  3. 9 fish for four people? is there any left? can i come over?

  4. Wow! its yummy. Just love it dear. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I accept your thank you , because I went thro your story and not the recipe part!you must have had a great a family get together!

    Now I thank you for having spent some time reading my blogs and webpage and leaving your valuable comments!...

    I was tempted by food bloggers like you to start satvika - the food blog.But I might not be able to do justice to it as I hardly find time to even relax with two tailess monkeys(my kids) to cater to.Then I already have two blogs rt? It would be like biting on to more than I can chew.So my satvika is not yet born now!:)

  6. Looks great! Can I come over? :)

  7. Might be thinking to have been "blessed"for its last moments in a merry berry family,Sugi.:D

    Hmmm ashaji..:D...she had been a little sefish with the recipe part,na?;)

    Bee,sorry you didnt go through the story well it seems...Not 4 but 6 of us..I did reserve 1 for bee,1 for Jai and the last one for dear jyothsna..where were you guys?;)

    Thanks Jyothi..:)

    Nanditha,how dare you call those cute honeypots,monkeys? :\..?
    They are your lovely mons not mon..ys ok?..Take your own time with satvika...I enjoy your way of writing and respect the valuable principles you hold..:D..A food blog will be a little too much from you..:)

    Aha look up please for my answer to dear bee..;),Jyothsna..

  8. he he he... cute story bharathy... so how many did u eat before it reached the table;)

  9. Hi Barathy I liked your little story I'm sure your fish tasted wonderful.m :)

  10. Ur fish is looking perfect..... Lovely fish....Nice procedure....

  11. Bharathy , when you do lengthy cooking in a microwave for eg.onion tomato masala you should use transparent glass bowls specially made for microwave. The best Indian brand is Borosil,and imported is Pyrex, Luminarc.
    Only care that should be taken is never immerse these into cold water soon after cooking.Wait for it to cool.
    Saute in micro should not be done with lot of oil as you would do on stove.There are chances of oil splattering.
    I used a large glass bowl to make masala.The oil used was just 1Tbsp for 500gms chopped onions, so no chances of oil spilling here and there.
    I use the plastic containers for 3-5 minute cooking jobs. Like steaming veg etc.
    On stove you have to keep sauteing stirring, here one stir with a wooden spoon is enough after a fixed time.
    I have given the time intervals in the recipe :) If still in doubt do ask me don't hesitate :)

  12. That was soo nice of you with a prompt,elaborate reply.Beware,may torture u with doubts:D..,Archana :)

  13. bharathy,
    Nice story:)
    karimeen pollichathu looks yummy.

  14. I liked your blog. It's so nice and you have explained things wonderfully. I have bookmarked it and will be visiting regularly. If you get time, visit my blog as well.

  15. HI Bharathy,

    I love fish, the reason why I dont cook it is because I dont have many good recipes for it. But this one is so cute, love its sarcastic laughter. It was preobably at the situation it was thrown into ;-)


  16. Loved this recipe and the write up...Mouthwatering fish...will have to search for banana leaves now..

  17. great story to read bharathy....and that fish looks so lovely both ways...hehhe...


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