It’s the first Friday of the month, and that means it’s time for another Currypalooza! This time, I got to choose the recipe, and I picked Patra ni Macchi, a dish traditionally served for Parsi weddings. It’s a flavorful dish featuring cod marinated in a spicy, aromatic paste of coconut, chilies, and herbs. The fish is then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. It’s healthy, it’s quick, it’s easy, and best of all, it’s impressive. Of course it comes from my favorite Indian cookbook, Miss Masala. I wrote to Mallika Basu, the author, to ask her permission to reprint the recipe from her book, and she graciously gave it.
When I cooked this, I halved the recipe, since there were only three of us, and I substituted dried coconut (shredded, unsweetened) for the fresh. It needed a little extra water, but no big deal. I served it with a dish of my own invention – potatoes boiled with hot peppers, mashed, seasoned with turmeric and garam masala, mixed with some peas, then shaped into little patties and pan-fried. The photo, I admit, is not great, due in part to the green-on-green nature of the dish, and in part to the extra long apéro hour before dinner. But the gin and tonics were so refreshing, and, well, by the time we sat down to eat everyone was sufficiently… refreshed.
For dessert we had bowls of fresh mango sprinkled with vanilla salt and dolloped with yogurt. It was a great summer meal that definitely transported us out of France for the evening.
Patra ni Macchi (Marinated cod steamed in banana-leaf parcels)
Reprinted with permission from Miss Masala by Mallika Basu
6 cod fillets, skinned and all bones removed
6 large banana leaves
3 garlic cloves
6 fresh green finger chillies
6 Tbsp. fresh or frozen grated coconut
50g (2oz) fresh coriander leaves
25g (1oz) fresh mint leaves
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Wash each cod fillet well under cold running water, dabbing dry on kitchen paper. Wash the banana leaves, taking care not to split the delicate fibres.
- Peel the garlic and, using a blender or food processor, purée into a paste with the remaining ingredients, adding salt to taste. The marinade should be strong and punchy in every way.
- Place each fish fillet on a banana leaf and smother with the marinade. Then wrap it as neatly as you can and set aside. You don’t need to tie it with thread because the steaming process will seal the parcel shut.
- When you’re ready to eat, steam each banana leaf parcel for 7-10 minutes, open side facing down, using a steamer, or a colander covered with a pan lid and placed over a large pan of boiling water. The fish should be moist but cooked through. (Open just one parcel first to check if cooked.)
- This is a wonderful way to impress guests and can be eaten alongside Parsi Brown Rice. Or serve with Khichdi for a super-healthy meal.
Check out the other Currypalooza posts for this month:
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More bits and bobs from around the web for your weekend reading enjoyment:
Last weekend Nick and I joined Emiglia of Tomato Kumato on a hike and a picnic to mark the end of summer. Though to tell the truth, it’s been downright summery the last few days, and I am not complaining.
I have a new recipe up on Girls’ Guide to Paris, this time for Apricot Swirl Ice Cream.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a happy hour to get to. Happy Friday!
On this day in 2010: Cactus L.A. (In which I eat Mexican food three times in one day.)
Originally published on Croque-Camille.