This seems complicated, but is actually quite easy to do and although using banana leaf will give the fish more flavour, you can also use aluminum foil and still have a delicious, healthy dish.
You can choose whichever fish you like; in Kerala they use pomfret, here I have used tilapia but use whichever fish is in season and which will work in this dish (your fishmonger will be able to help here).
This is not a heavy dish but is really satisfying and just needs a little salad or some potatoes on the side to become a filling, healthy meal. If it is summer, try doing these on the barbecue – the extra smokiness is delicious.
4 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
4 fillets tilapia or other fillets
14 curry leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6g ginger, finely chopped
½ green chilli, finely chopped, or to taste
2 small tomatoes, chopped
Salt to taste and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of powdered fennel seeds
A small pinch of powdered cloves
1/3 tsp tamarind paste to taste
2 tsp lemon juice and ½ tsp turmeric powder to marinate fish
4 squares of banana leaves, large enough to wrap the fish in, or aluminum foil
String to tie or toothpicks to secure banana leaves
For more delicious ideas, visit www.thespicetailor.com
Photograph: Lisa Linder