What Is Patra Ni Macchi ?
This is an extremely popular fish recipe from the Parsi community that is relished by all. Patra means a leaf usually a banana leaf and macchi means fish ( both are Gujarati words ) so in essence it translates to Banana Leaf Fish or Fish wrapped in a Banana Leaf. A delicious chutney or paste is made using a handful of ingredients like coconut,lime juice, coriannder chillies etc and used to coat a piece of fish which is then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. It’s a popular dish served at elaborate celebratory meals like weddings or Navjotes and is almost always on the Bhonu menu.
Which Fish Is Used For Patra Ni Macchi ?
Traditionally the Parsi community used Pomfret and they get quite excited with the fish. I’ve used pomfret fillets in this recipe but you can honestly substitute with any fleshy fish that you are comfortable using. Basa is a popular choice at restaurants that make this most tend to be non Parsi restaurants it’s possibly cheaper and more convenient because there’s no bone unlike the pomfret that has smaller spiky bones but if you are cooking it at home it is entirely your choice.
Is Patra Ni Macchi Healthy ?
Yes very much so. This is a dish that is steamed and not fried or cooked at all. There is zero oil used and the fish gets all its flavour from the chutney mixture once it’s steamed in the banana leaf.
Is There A Vegetarian Version Of Patra Ni Macchi
Macchi means fish and that’s really the heart of this dish but yes there are vegetarian alternatives to this dish for sure. The most popular though definitely NOT traditional choice is Paneer. Where you replace the fish with a thick piece of Paneer or cottage cheese. It’s often called Patra Ni Paneer but let’s be clear this is not a Parsi dish, it’s just a convenient alternative for those who don’t eat fish and still quite delicious.
500 grams pomfret fillets or any fish of your choice
5 Banana Leaves
1.5 Cups of freshly grated coconut
1.5 Cups of Fresh Coriander leaves
1 Cup Mint Leaves
1 Teaspoon Cumin seeds
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 – 2 Teaspoon Salt
1- 2 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 -2 Teaspoon Ginger Garlic paste or fresh ginger and garlic
String / Toothpicks
Except for the Fish and Banana leaves, add all the ingredients into your mixer grinder/ food processor along with a little water to grind into a thick paste or chutney.
It should end up being a nice green colour. Please add water little at a time do NOT add a lot in one go or the paste will be runny and watery and you don’t want that. I must be a thick paste like consistancy.
Season the fish pieces with a little lime juice and salt. This step isn’t mandatory and in the video I haven’t done it but if you like please season the fish.
Take the banana leaf and cut it through the centre on either side to discard the thick stem in the middle. With each sheet just lightly place it above a source of heat so that it warms slightly. This helps when you have to wrap up the parcel
Place your fish piece on the sheet of banana leaf that’s been warmed and slather the fish in that coconut chutney. Make sure there is plenty of chutney on both sides and the fish is well covered in it.
Wrap the fish in the banana leave gently and then tie a string around it or use a toothpick to seal the parcel. It’s important to seal is somehow so that it doesn’t open up while steaming.
As I mentioned this is a really healthy recipe as there is no cooking or frying so place these sealed parcels into your steamer and steam for about 10 mins.
Serve hot in a plate and only cut open the parcel when it’s time to eat.
How To Serve Patra Ni Macchi
It’s usually always served as part of a wedding feast or typical Parsi bhonu so there’s no real accompaniment. I would suggest you can eat it as is, or then with roti and pickle. Ideally the famous Parsi wedding pickle which is sweet but it’s entirely upto you.
How To Store Patra Ni Macchi
This is tricky but ideally this is a dish meant to be eaten fresh. However if you steam the fish and want to eat it later ensure that you do not remove the fish from the banana leaf covering. Keep it in the refrigerator and it will re heat later. It will stay like this for a day or two.
The chutney can be made before hand and refrigerated for a couple of days.