Keralan Cod (Pollichathu)



This dish is cooked in a Keralan style called ‘Pollichathu’ where the fish (usually a traditional Karimeen) is wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked in a tasty marinade to keep it moist and succulent. However, I used foil for mine and cooked it under the grill but a BBQ would be a great alternative! Serve with some homemade warm chapattis and some nice cooling lime infused yoghurt!

Serves 4

  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ lemon juice
  • 4 cod fillets/seabass fillets
  • 1 coconut, flesh grated OR 2 large generous handful of desiccated coconut
  • 8 spring onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5cm ginger root
  • 1 large green chilli
  • 1 large tbsp dried curry leaves (or a handful of fresh)
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli, torn or 1 small tsp of dried chilli flakes
  • Small bunch of coriander


  • 280g wholemeal bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml cold water
  1. Combine the black pepper, turmeric and lemon juice and marinade the fish for 1 hour in the fridge.
  2. Chop the spring onions, garlic ginger and green chilli and combine with the curry leaves.
  3. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and add the mustard seeds until they begin to crackle and then add the red chilli.
  4. Add the onion mixture and stir for a few minutes until beginning to brown but make sure it does not burn.
  5. Add the coconut and the coriander, saving a handful for garnish and season and set aside to cool slightly.
  6. Meanwhile, make the chapattis by placing flour and salt in a bowl and adding the water in a steady stream and mix with a wooden spoon. Knead briefly to obtain a sticky elastic dough and set aside in an oiled bowl to rest.
  7. Place the fish fillets in the middle of a piece of foil or a banana leaf and spoon over a ¼ of the coconut mixture. Wrap the foil up into a sealed parcel. Place on a hot BBQ or under a hot grill for about 8-10 minutes until cooked.
  8. While cooking, teach of golf ball sized pieces of chapattis dough and roll thinly. Either on the hot BBQ or in a hot dry frying pan, fry for a few minutes either side until charred and cooked. Wrap in a tea towel to keep warm and soft until ready to serve.
  9. Once the fish is cooked, serve along side the fish garnished with the reserved coriander and a spoonful of yoghurt seasoned with some lime zest and juice to taste for a nice cooling side.