Saturday, July 18, 2009

Patra ni macchi


The name of this dish translates to "fish wrapped in a leaf" .Patra ni macchi is a traditional Parsi dish that has fish wrapped in a spicy marinade made with ground coconut, fresh mint, coriander leaves, fresh green chillies and lemon juice. It's succulent and moist with the juices of the fish intact and just bursting with all the flavors of the sea. The banana leaf lends this dish a subtle smoky flavor that I like.

I only make this dish when I have really fresh fish and fresh green giant banana leaves on hand.Steamed fish mandates that the fish be extremely fresh or you're going to wind up with a dish with a strong fishy odor.Not pleasant.

Now, if you're not very into steamed fish (Or steamed anything - like my husband) I would still give this a try. Especially when you're entertaining, cause the whole fish wrapped in banana leaves makes an impressive presentation.You could leave the fish in the leaf parcels and let your guests open them at the dinner table.Plus it doesn't take a whole lot of time to prep or steam the fish.

Serve on a bed of hot fluffy steamed rice. Since it is fish - you can feel real good about getting all your protein and omega3 fatty acids. You could also grill or barbecue the fish parcels and if you can't find banana leaves where you live - use foil or better still grill them just as they are.

Here I've used Surmai or Kingfish. But a whole Pomfret or a Red Snapper would work just as well.




1/2 kilo or 2 lbs of Kingfish/Pomfret/Red Snapper
1 cup fresh scraped coconut
3 cups fresh coriander leaves
20 fresh mint leaves
8 green chillies
1 lemon - juiced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 inch piece ginger
6 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
banana leaves
kitchen string/twine


1)Clean the fish and keep aside.If you are using the whole fish make deep incisions or score the fish on both sides to help the fish marinate better.
2)Make the marinade. Grind together the coconut, coriander and mint leaves, chillies,cumin seeds,ginger,garlic, lemon juice and salt.Taste the marinade. Take care not to add too much water as you don't want a runny marinade.The fish also releases some of it's juices so you want to keep the marinade thick.
3)Smear the fish generously with the marinade.Leave aside for up to 1 hr.
3)Wash and cut the banana leaves so you have one for each fish steak/fillet. If you're using the whole fish rub the insides of the fish with the marinade as well.
4)Gently wrap the fish with the banana leaf and use the kitchen string to help secure the leaves around the fish.
5)Steam/Grill the fish for about 10- 12 minutes depending on how thick your fish is.Serve hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.



  2. Congrats on starting your blog Shwetha.

  3. wonderful.... love to prepare this...