Fish wrapped in Banana Leaf with delicious Chutney: Parsi Patra ni Maachi

While vacationing in Dahanu a couple of years back, and driving back to Gujarat from the Maharashtra state. I saw fisher women selling promfrets, pronounced locally as pamplets on the roadside. Dahanu is a coastal town and a municipal council in Palghar district in the state of Maharashtra, India. It is located 110 km from Mumbai city.

They had freezers in their lovely home to store their catch.  However the fresh fish would be sold within 2 hours and if you wanted any pamplet or prawns you better rush there in the morning.

These fishermen and fisher women live along the coast line of Dahanu with their houses on the beaches. Living a simple life they make a living catching the ocean bounty. I talked with the mother and father whose son was coming to USA to study. Now that’s progress !

Patra ni Maachi chutney is very easy to make. With fresh cilantro, lemon juice and other ingredients.  The same chutney can be used to make chutney sandwiches at a later time.

Banana leaves are found in US in many Indian, Korean and Chinese Stores. The word “Patra” literally means “Leaf” in gujarati. “Maachi” means “Fish”. So do not be intimidated by the strange words, translated, the dish is  Fish wrapped in Banana Leaf with delicious Chutney.

I have found  pamplets in US in HMarts, called by a different name – plammuro. These are a bit yellow and not as white as found in India. They do have the same look, taste, texture and feel.

Some wiki facts:

Brama brama.jpg
Atlantic pomfret, Brama brama
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Percoidei
Superfamily: Percoidea
Family: Bramidae

Pomfrets are perciform fishes belonging to the family Bramidae. The family includes about 20 species.

They are found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, and the largest species, the Atlantic pomfret, Brama brama, grows up to 1 m (3.3 ft) long. Fish meat is white in color.

Several species are important food sources for humans, especially Brama brama in the South Asia. The earlier form of the pomfret’s name was pamflet, a word which probably ultimately comes from Portuguese pampo, referring to various fish such as the blue butterfish (Stromateus fiatola). This fish also called as ‘Maanji’ (ಮಾಂಜಿ) in Tulu and paplet in Urdu, Marathi and Nawayathi.

  • Several species of butterfishes in the genus Pampus are also known as “pomfrets”.
  • Some species of pomfrets are also known as monchong, specifically in Hawaiian cuisine.
  • Above referenced from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I found a substitute fish here in the US called “Palmunaro” in H-MART. They are similar to pamplet from India.

  Recipe for Patra ni Maachi with Leeli Chutney.

  • 2 large Pomfrets weighing together 900 gms. (other fish like Salmon can be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Grind together for chutney:

  • 10 green chilies
  • 3 cups washed and chopped Cilantro (Kothmir)
  • 1 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 6 large cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Banana leaves or Foil
  1. Remove head of fish if desired and cut each fish into 6 slices.
  2. Cut large enough portions of banana leaves or foil to wrap each slice of fish.
  3. Hold each piece of banana leaf over a flame a few seconds to soften leaf and center rib.
  4. Grease one side of each portion of leaf or foil.
  5. Using about 1.5 teaspoons salt per fish, rub salt into each slice of fish.
  6. Coat each slice of fish with chutney.
  7. Lay a slice of fish on the greased side of piece of banana leaf or foil and roll it up.
  8. Tie with thread.
  9. Do the same with other slices of fish and steam or bake for 30 minutes or till fish is cooked.

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Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Cookbooks are available on Amazon. 

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Sandhya says:

    Love Patra ni machi!

  2. Rita says:

    Thanks Sandhaya, good to know you eat fish. I just love your blog creations and recipes.
    Are you Veg?

  3. Sandhya says:

    Rita I eat chicken, lamb/goat meat and am crazy about fish. I grew up eating fish 3 times a week and mutton/chicken on the Sundays. My mother was a fabulous cook with two cookbooks in Marathi.
    I love Parsi food . My mother used to make the shrimp patia and the fish in banana leaf.

  4. Rita says:

    We are so similar! We Parsis probably learnt from your community. Do let me know your mothers cookbook names and where to get them in mumbai, are they in print?

  5. Sandhya says:

    My mothers 2 cookbooks are Ruchi and Zanzaneet Non veg both by Vaijayanti Rege. They are in bookstores in Dadar Mumbai. I had got a few copies here for sale as well.
    Have a great weekend Rita!

  6. Sandhya says:

    Rita, My mother’s cookbooks in Marathi are Ruchi and Zanzaneet non-veg both by Vaijayanti Rege. they are available in bookstores in Dadar,Mumbai. Also I had got some here for sale.

  7. Delicious recipe. I tried this once at a Parsi restaurant and absolutely loved it 🙂

  8. Rita says:

    Thank you so much Freda ❤

  9. Rita says:

    Dear Sandhya, I will be happy to put your Mother’s cookbook on my site anytime.

  10. Sandhya says:

    Thanks so much Rita!

  11. Rita says:

    You are welcome anytime, what are friends for. Rita.

  12. divyesh Mehta says:

    Is your chutney missing Cilantro?

  13. Rita says:

    Hi Divyesh, Thank you for bringing it to my attention. The chutney was made with cilantro of course but it was missing in the recipe given here. It has now been corrected. Very much appreciate your kind gesture. Happy New Year!

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