We found Fish Pollichathu in several toddy shops during our travels through Kerala – it was a must-have on their menus, especially in the Kuttanad region, which is famed for its backwaters. Traditionally, the toddy shops use karimeen fish. But if you don’t have access to karimeen, you can use black pomfret or seer in its place.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time


    Plus 20 mins to prep


  • 2 fish fillets, 100 gm each
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 cups sliced shallots
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 4 pieces Kodampuli (Malabar tamarind), soaked in 1/2 cup water for 15 mins
  • Salt to taste
  • Banana leaf for wrapping


  1. Heat 1.5 tbsp coconut oil in a pan.
  2. Toss in the curry leaves, sliced shallots, garlic and ginger, and sauté until the shallots turn slightly golden.
  3. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and pepper powder.
  4. Pour in the Kodampuli water and salt and cook well for about 10-12 minutes.
  5. On a banana leaf, spread 1 tbsp masala and place a piece of fish on it. Spread more masala on the side of the fish facing up, until the fish is covered.
  6. Sprinkle black pepper powder and drizzle some coconut oil.
  7. Wrap the fish nicely with banana leaf and grill it on a tawa on both sides. Serve hot.
Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew, co-owner and culinary director of Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai and Bengaluru, is Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for September. His culinary career, which began with the Taj Group of Hotels, has taken him to several countries, where he has learnt many cuisines. After 25 years in the F&B industry, he decided to closely explore the cuisine of his home state, Kerala. For three years, he travelled through the state, researching its food, and working with 265 housewives and 70 toddy shops, some of whom are now part of the restaurant’s kitchen. He has won several accolades in his career, including being adjudged the Chef of the Year at the Times Food Awards, Chennai, in 2018.

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