Pearl spot- known as 'Karimeen' in Malayalam is recently promoted to 'State fish of Kerala'. This fresh water fish is so delicious that even foreigners love to visit Kuttanadu and Kumarakam again and again to taste its variety of dishes like 'Karimeen fry', 'Karimeen pollichathu' and 'Karimeen mapase'. In this article, I am giving you these 3 recipes in detail. Pearl spot is also known as green chromide and it is known as koral in Bengali. Though it is delicious, intense care should be given while eating, because its skelton is very dangerous and can cause extreme damage to our throat. Cleaning this fish is also a tedious process. Yet, the unique taste that it offers cannot be compared with any other fish dishes. Also, it is one of the costier fishes available in Kerala. Dishes prepared with this fish can be considered as traditional dishes of Kerala. It is also to be noted that medium sized fishes are most suited for its preparation and they are not cut into pieces. Use coconut oil to get its original taste.


Karimeen fry

Pearl spot  - 4
Ginger- garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt - as needed
Coconut oil - to fry

Method of preparation:
Clean the fish and give deep cuts on either side of the fish with a knife. But never cut into pieces.
Make a paste of ginger, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric powder, pepper and salt with a little water and marinate the fish with it.
Place it for some time, at least 1 hour.
Deep fry in oil and serve hot.
If you need, you can add curry leaves and green chillies (cut into pieces) at the end, just before you take the fish from flame.


Karimeen Mapase

Pearl spot (Medium sized) as whole - 4
Onion sliced - 2
Tomato big sized - 1
Green chillies , split into two halves- 2
Ginger - Garlic paste - 1 1/2 tsp
Tamarind or Indian garcinia - As per taste
Indian garcinia is known as 'Kudam puli' in Malayalam and 'Bilatti amli' in Hindi.
Coconut oil - 2 tsp
Curry leaves - a little
Thick coconut milk - 1 cup
Thin coconut milk - 2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Dry fried coriander powder - 1tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Method of preparation:
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add curry leaves, onion, green chillies, turmeric powder, salt and ginger-garlic paste.
Cook it till it turns light brown. Add coriander powder, chilli powder and pepper powder and a little thin coconut milk.
Stir well, close the lid and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Open the lid and add the rest of the second coconut milk. Add tamarind also.
When it boils, add the fish and close the lid. Cook it in low flame for 10 - 12 minutes. Never insert spoon inside the pan.
Add freshly cut tomato and place the flame in high position. Close the lid and let the tomato cooked for 3 - 4 minutes. Water must be almost absorbed.
Open the lid and add the thick coconut milk.
When it just starts to boil, put the flame off.


Karimeen Pollichathu

Pearl spot medium sized - 4
Banana leaf to wrap - 4
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Fried coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Curry leaves - a little
Green chillies split into two -2
Ginger chopped - 1 tsp
Garlic chopped - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Thick coconut milk - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - as needed
Coconut oil - as needed

Method of preparation
Clean the fish and give deep cuts on either side of the fish with a knife. But never cut into pieces.
Marinate it with pepper powder, turmeric powder and salt (needed for the fish only). Place it for half hour or so.
Heat oil  in a flat pan and fry the fish , one by one in high flame. Just half - one minute is needed. It is done just to fry both sides so that the fish won't be damaged during the course of its preparation. Place them in tissue paper so that extra oil will be absorbed.
In the remaining oil, add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add onion, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Fry till the onion turns brown.
Add chilli powder, coriander powder, salt , fennel seeds and a little tamarind water. Cook it for 2 - 3 minutes and add coconut milk.
When it boils, put the fried fish into it and close the lid. Cook it in medium flame for 5-10 minutes, till almost water is absorbed. Never put spoon inside the pan. Put the flame off.
Place the banana leaf in low flame in gas stove, for just a few seconds or just smoke, to make it a little soft and flexible. Otherwise, it will break, when folded.
Take a banana leaf, spread a little gravy, place the fish on it and again spread a little gravy on the top of the fish. Wrap it. If needed, tie it with a thread. Repeat the same procedure to wrap all the fishes.
Heat a tava. Place each fish on the top of it. Close the lid and cook it in low flame for 5 minutes.
Open the lid and open each banana leaf. Spread a little coconut oil and curry leaves on the top of each fish, close it and again place it in tawa, the other side.
After 2-3 minutes, Karimeen pollichath will be ready to serve.


Here, I presented before you three varieties of pearl fish, which every fish loving person would like to have. 

Note: Always use coconut oil for its preparation. Never cut the fish into pieces. Also, never use spoon inside the pan even when the fish is half done. Just shake it with handle of the pan.

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