4 whole fish or 750 g/1 1/2 lb white fish fillets
1 large lemon
2 medium onions
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 large fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped
30 g/1 oz/1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
4 tablespoons fresh grated or desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garam masala banana leaves or foil
Wash the fish, dry with paper towels and rub with salt. Leave while preparing masala.
Peel the lemon, removing all the white pith. Cut lemon in pieces and discard all seeds. Put into container of an electric blender with one onion, roughly chopped, ginger, garlic, chillies, fresh coriander, cumin and fenugreek. Blend on high speed until puréed, then add coconut and blend again.
Heat oil and fry remaining onion, finely chopped, until soft and golden. Add blended mixture and fry, stirring, until fragrant. Remove from heat. Add salt and garam masala. Coat each fish or fillet with the mixture, wrap securely in banana leaves or foil and steam over gently simmering water for 30 minutes, turning parcels once. Serve in the leaf parcels.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)