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Monday, August 31, 2015

Patrani Machhi...Parsi cousin of the Bengali Paturi

Fish fillet marinated in spices, wrapped in an envelop of Banana leaf and steamed or baked.

To a Bengali the spice would be predominantly Mustard paste while to a Parsi it would be a green chutney consisting of predominantly coriander leaves, pudina, coconut. 

The end result? Either a Bong Paturi or a Parsi Patrani Machchhi...both favourite, subtly flavoured fish delicacies of the respective communities.

Of course, while the Paturi is made of Bhetki or Hilsa, the Patrani Machchhi is made of Pomfret, Rawas, as far as I know.

The Bong me, this morning, wanted to try her hand at making her favourite paturi's Parsi cousin.
Internet came to my rescue and I followed this Parsi recipe from Devaki's Weave a Thousand Flavors. 
The changes I made due to availability/non-availability - For my Patrani Machchhi, I used Bhetki, freshly grated coconut, desi green chilies but it was sans pudina as I did not have the herb at home.

Ingredients : yielded approximately 24 pieces of fish
Bhetki fillet - approx 600 gms (since I had no plans of making patrani machchi, I had marinated the fish with ginger, pepper and salt)

** Dry grind spices: Jeera / cumin seeds - 1.5 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1.5 tsp ,
Fenugreek/Methi - 1/2 tsp ,
Mustard seeds - 1.5 tsp

Dry grind all the above ingredients in the coffee grinder to a fine powder. Add to the ingredients of coconut chutney (given below) to make the chutney.

Coconut Chutney: Grated coconut - 1 cup ( I used half a coconut),
Ginger - 1” piece,
peeled garlic - 3-4 cloves ,
Green chilies (depending on tolerance to heat) - 2, 
Kashmiri mirch powder - 1 tsp (not in original recipe)
fresh cilantro leaves - 1 cup (+ ¼ cup mint leaves - did not use),
sugar - 1 tsp ,
salt - 1-1/2 tsp ,
Dry roasted (instead of raw) peanuts - 1 tbs &
tamarind paste-2 tbs
**Dry ground spices from above,
1/2 cup water (more only if required)

4-6 inch wide pieces (approx square ) banana leaves , 24 nos ( I needed 3 medium sized banana leaves) to wrap fish

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F/175-180 deg C

2. Fish – Cut the fillet into approx.2"x3" sized pieces. Rubbed with salt  and pepper (not mentioned in original recipe) 

3. Prepared the Coconut chutney by blending all the ingredients in a grinder to make a thick pesto like fine paste. The mixture should be of thick consistency.
5. Marinade: Apply the chutney all over the fish on both sides. Marinate 4-5 hours. (I had time for only 1 hour marination)


1. Wash and dry the surface of the banana leaf . Apply oil on the surface of each leaf. Cut the banana leaf into approx. 4"x6" pieces 

2. Place each fish fillet in the center of a piece of banana leaf so the fish is parallel to the seams in the leaf. Cover generously with the marinade. 

3. Fold over on both sides and then fold over the ends ad seal with one/more tooth pick

4. Place the fish parcels on a baking tray. 'Bake' for 20 minutes in the preheated oven at 170-180 deg C.

5. Remove from the oven.
Serve hot with steamed rice.