Karimeen Pollichathu (Pearl Spot Fish Fry in Banana Leaves)

Karimeen Pollichathu
Karimeen Pollichathu

Karimeen Pollichathu is one of Kerala’s traditional delicacies. Karimeen or Pearl spot fish is found very common in Kerala backwaters. All through Kerala, you will get this dish but with varying flavour.. The taste and preparation changes slightly as we go from one end of Kerala to the other!
This is traditionally a Syrian Christian delicacy but soon became part of Kerala’s rich cuisine. Your Kerala holidays will never be complete without enjoying this…


Karimeen (Pearl Spot Fish) : 200g
Ginger:                                       1 Inch piece of ginger
Garlic:                                        6 to 7 cloves
Onion (chopped):                    1  or 2 depending on size
Curry leaves :                           2 Sprigs
Chilly Powder:                         2 Tsp
Turmeric Powder:                  1 Tsp
Coriander Powder:                 2 Tsp
Lime Juice:                              1 Tbsp
Salt:                                           To taste
Coconut Oil :                           25 ml
Banana leaf

For marination:

1 teaspoon pepper powder
2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
Marinated Karimeen
Image by Diavol

Method of Preparation

First clean the fish thoroughly and using a knife make 3-4 gashes on each side of the fish.   Make a paste of all the ingredients for marination. Marinate the fishes using that. Keep it aside for one hour.

Heat coconut oil in a frying pan and add finely chopped onions. Once they start turning brown, add crushed ginger and garlic. Then add chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder and saute well. Add lime juice and salt as per your taste. Keep it on simmer till you see oil clear up on the surface of the gravy. Turn the stove off and let it cool.

Take a banana leaf and place a fish and a sprig of curry leaf on it. Then pour some gravy over the fish. Smear the gravy well on both sides of the fish. Cover and seal the sides of the banana leaf. Grill both sides evenly in hot tawa or electric grill. Serve hot with salad and a piece of lime!
A note of caution though..this dish is little spicy!

Get free tour plan

Article written by

I am the Inbound Marketing and Creative Head for Paradise Holidays, Cochin a Kerala based tour operator. I love reading, exploring places and trying out new dishes!

8 Responses

  1. return man 2
    return man 2 at | | Reply

    I like this post 🙂

  2. moncler doudounes
    moncler doudounes at | | Reply

    Excellent post. Thanks.

  3. ganga
    ganga at | | Reply

    karimeen pollichathu has no syrian christian orgins- thanks for sharing.

  4. AK
    AK at | | Reply

    How do we cook this dish without a banana leaf. I have never tried using a foil on tawa. Please let me know if we can cook with foil without the foil getting burnt?

  5. meera
    meera at | | Reply

    hi ,
    the recipe has been very useful i actually had to ask a favor.the thing is we are making a wikipedia page on karimeen pollichathu in mlayalam and we needed a picture to use for it. the icture above is brilliant and i wanted to ask your permission for using it and query for any copyright issues.

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

Leave a Reply