Bombay or Mumbai has been home to several cultures from around the world...One should say that Bombay has always had a big heart to welcome and own people from all over India and abroad...The city has an ineffable charisma and the beauty is that people just fall in love with her....In spite of having gone thro' several traumatic experiences in the recent past Mumbai has shown remarkable resilience and put on a wonderful smile always...Bombay's Parsi community is believed to have come from Persia in the 9th century and they have made their presence felt in various walks of life.They have a distinct culinary culture which imbibes the spirit of persia and topped with the local Indian flavour.Their dhansak and patra varieties are indeed wonderful gourmet experience...
Mumbai Parsis excel in fish cookery, and Patrani Machi may be called their signature dish. Traditionally, fish variety called Hilsa is used,which has a rich flavour and innumerable bones...but one can always substitute it with pomfrets or even salmons....It is a wonderful variety for all those who love fish.Fish is topped with a coconut-cilantro chutney and wrapped in leaves,banana leaves(best) or colocasia leaves, and steamed(can be baked too).If you dont have access to these leaves you can very well use any of the edible wrappers like lettuce,spinach,swiss chard,cabbage,taro leaves etc. If nothing is available,just apply the herb sauce and steam the fish!....Back home in Kerala my mother always fried any fish in banana leaves...hmmm....wah!that is a wonderful flavour addition to the fish fry...just lay a banana leaf in the frying pan and fry the marinated fish pieces on it.Last time I had picked up a few colocasia leaves from the India market with the idea of making some patra dishes and of course some of the traditional kerala recipes...Ok now straight to the Patrani Machi recipe.
Colocasia leaves/Banana leaves-for wrapping
(ideally blanch the leaves and trim them)
Melted Butter/Desi ghee/oil-2tbsp(or as rqd)
lemon wedges-1 or 2
Ingredients for the chutney/sauce
Fresh grated coconut-100g
Garlic- 5 cloves-chopped
Fresh cilantro-1/2 cup-chopped
mint leaves-a few sprigs(as u prefer the flavour)
Lemon juice-3 tbsp
Cumin powder-1 1/2 tsp
1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)
Clean the fish fillets and marinate it with lemon juice and salt.I used whole pomfrets.So I made small gashes on to the fish so that the chutney can seep in properly...Grind the ingredients for the chutney into a coarse paste.
Coat the fish generously with the chutney and fill the inside as well(if u r using a whole fish).Place 2 leaves on a work surface slightly overlapping.Apply oil/butter on the leaves. Place the chutney coated fish/whole fish on top of the leaves, fold in the sides, and wrap it up into a neat package.You may even tie it up with a thread. Now put it on a steamer rack(or boil water a large mouthed vessel,place a metallic sieve on top and place the fish packets on it) and steam it until the fish is cooked...say 30 minutes(depends on the type of fish).Alternatively you can bake these packets in a greased baking dish at 350F until the pack looks wilted and browned.Once the fish is cooked transfer it to a plate,open the packets and serve with some lemon wedges,cucumber and tomato with steamed rice.It goes well with most pilaf varieties. I had it with steamed rice,Kurukku kalan and some
Kurukku Kaalan recipe to be posted soon! :)