Saturday, August 13, 2011

Patrani Macchi

Or what happens when the husband takes over my kitchen

VC has never made me anything more than some eggs, toast and my morning tea. And today I discovered that its not because he can't or he doesn't want to. It's mostly because I have never let him have a go, unperturbed, uninterrupted, unsupervised. So today, after much coaxing, I agreed. I tried to calm down and have an open mind because I have never known VC to cook, or even experiment. But I stand corrected. The man can cook. And how!

Here's how. From calling his mother up for her recipe, to bringing me some fresh water fish, to cleaning it, following the recipe step by step and ensuring that we had a wholesome lunch, VC did it all.

So this post is dedicated tot he surprise visitor who took over my kitchen for the day, cooked up a storm and left me very, very satisfied.

Here's what he used:
450 gms basa fish, deboned (We chose this fresh water fish because given that its the monsoon river fish is way fresher than sea fish, but technically any light, white fish would work)
2 handfuls of fresh coriander
1/2 coconut grated
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 big thumb of ginger
2 green chillies
Juice of half a lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon chaat masala (this was my little contribution/experiment, and it added quite a distinct tanginess to the dish)
2 large banana leaves

Here's what he did:
First VC ground together the coriander, coconut, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt till it was nice and pasty. Next, add in the lime juice, garam masala and chaat masala and grind again till well mixed.

Start off without adding any water, because you don't want a runny mix. What you can do is have a go without water, and then add in very little if need be so you end up with is a finely ground mixture slightly thicker in consistency than chutney.

Next, he heated some oil in a pan and sauteed the chutney for about five minutes. This is done to cook the masala a bit and get rid of any unwanted moisture.

Then set he the masala aside to cool till it was okay to handle it with his fingers when he got down to wrapping the fish in banana leaves.

Next VC mopped the banana leaf dry so there was no moisture getting in the way.

Once he had chopped the leaf into squares big enough to wrap the pieces of fish, he placed a piece of fish towards the top.

Then, he covered both sides with masala, dabbing it with his fingers so it was tightly packed.

Next, I helped him wrap the fish in the banana leaf and secured the pieces with thread.

In a pressure cooker with more water than you would usually use, place a deep dish/vessel. Cover the vessel with another shallow one. Place the wrapped pieces of fish in it and steam in the cooker without a whistle.

15 minutes later, when we opened up the cooker, the entire kitchen was filled with the aroma of freshly steamed coriander and spices, and VC peeped over the dish with a look that can only be compared to a toddler with a new toy.

Carefully pulling them out, he heated some oil in a pan and lightly pan fried the fish, which was still intact, wrapped in the banana leaf.

When slightly browned on either side, it was time to open it up!


For all those of you who love fish and thought this was a complicated, intimidating dish to try at home, you have to try this out. If VC can make it, so can you!


  1. waah waahh!! inspired i am.. :)

  2. Oh WOW!! I'm so impressed!! I wish I could try it too. It sounds so do-able! But sttuppid AK is allergic and won't let me try fish at home. I totally had to lie and fool him when I made the ceviche :(

    PS - you should try that since you have access to fresh, white river fish...

  3. G and PK: let's hope all the enthusiasm lasts a while :P

  4. #$*!@)#* ok for the record, I had to try at least 10 times before I could comment. I really think blogspot is kinda maybe you should migrate this to WP too.

  5. I am going to try this soon! Love the pictures. Do you think this will work with Tilapia?

  6. Im so sorry, but I have never used Tilapia before. But my guess is if its a white light fish, it will work :) Good luck!