Karimeen Pollichathu


Karimeen Pollichathu

Spicy Grilled Pearl Spot Fish in Banana Leaf

Karimeen Pollichathu is a traditional Indian dish hailing from the state of Kerala. It features pearl spot fish marinated in a flavorful blend of spices, wrapped in banana leaf, and grilled to perfection. This dish is known for its aromatic flavors and unique cooking technique.

Jan Dec

30 minutes

10 minutes

40 minutes

4 servings


Pescatarian, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Low carb, Keto-friendly

Fish, Onion, Garlic

Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free, Egg-free, Soy-free


  • 2 pearl spot fish (karimeen)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 banana leaves, cut into square pieces


  • Calories (kcal / KJ): 250 kcal / 1046 KJ
  • Fat (total, saturated): 15g, 10g
  • Carbohydrates (total, sugars): 8g, 4g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Salt: 1g


  1. 1.
    Clean and wash the pearl spot fish thoroughly. Make diagonal cuts on both sides of the fish.
  2. 2.
    In a bowl, mix together turmeric powder, red chili powder, black pepper powder, lemon juice, and salt to form a smooth paste.
  3. 3.
    Apply the spice paste evenly on both sides of the fish, including the cuts. Let it marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. 4.
    Heat coconut oil in a pan and sauté the sliced onions, green chilies, ginger-garlic paste, and curry leaves until the onions turn golden brown.
  5. 5.
    Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
  6. 6.
    Take a banana leaf square and slightly heat it over a flame to make it pliable.
  7. 7.
    Place a marinated fish on one side of the banana leaf and top it with a spoonful of the onion-tomato mixture.
  8. 8.
    Fold the banana leaf over the fish to form a parcel and secure it with a toothpick or string.
  9. 9.
    Repeat the process for the remaining fish.
  10. 10.
    Heat a grill or a pan and brush it with coconut oil. Place the banana leaf parcels on the grill or pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until the fish is cooked through.
  11. 11.
    Remove the toothpick or string before serving.

Treat your ingredients with care...

  • Pearl spot fish (karimeen) — Make sure to clean the fish thoroughly and make diagonal cuts on both sides to allow the marinade to penetrate and enhance the flavors.

Tips & Tricks

  • If banana leaves are not available, you can use aluminum foil as a substitute.
  • Adjust the spice levels according to your preference by increasing or decreasing the amount of red chili powder and black pepper powder.
  • For a more intense flavor, marinate the fish for a longer duration, preferably overnight.

Serving advice

Serve the Karimeen Pollichathu hot with steamed rice or appam. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves for added freshness.

Presentation advice

Present the Karimeen Pollichathu by unwrapping the banana leaf parcel at the table, allowing the aroma to waft through the air. This adds an element of excitement and visual appeal to the dining experience.