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Pan Grilled Kerala Karimeen / Pearl Spot With Indian Green Chutney

Karimeen pollichathu is perhaps the most universally known famous karimeen  / pearl spot fish dish from Kerala. So this recipe of mine, pan grilled Karimeen / Pearl Spot with Indian green chutney will definitely surprise you in a good way and am sure you love this beautiful rendition of karimeen bursting out with unusual flavours.

Schools had re-opened yesterday, and that’s should be enough reason to be back on social , doing my routine work, the kind I am so much accustomed to. Amidst the high- energized early morning scenes, till my little one left for the school, the house wear a deserted look, a vacuum kinda feeling and to overcome those momentary emptiness, I resorts back to my kitchen, the best I can do in such situations and cooked this grilled karimeen in green chutney sauce.

Karimeen is my new favourite fish now, a typical Kerala fish ( yes for un initiated, there are Bengali fish and then there are Kerala fishes)ūüėĀ .¬† I had it for the first time, many many moons back at Taj’s Fisherman’s Cove and instantly fell in love with this. Karimeen also known as pearl spot is your typical low- fat high protein fish with abundant nutritional value. This fish is best suited as Meen Pollichathu, the much celebrated fish recipe from backwaters of Kerala. The fish is first smeared with medley of flavorful spices and then wrapped in banana leaves and smoked to perfection.
And this recipe of meen pollichathu is on my recipe-to-try list for long.

karimeen pearl spot fry recipe

Meanwhile I discovered this recipe one fine summer day while working on the ways to adapt this fish for curries, that best suits this mildly flavoured fish. But ended with this ridiculously simple, yet beautiful recipe of this pan grilled karimeen. All it takes is to make an explosive Hari chutney or the green chutney that we  use so frequently for Indian chats. Only one thing that need to be considered here that the chutney should be a bomb, should be bursting out with flavours and smear the fish gently with it. The fish comes to life, not literally.
Serve it as a side with rice and some salad to add the crunch.

How to clean karimeen :

If you are not familiar with the techniques of cleaning fish, then cleaning karimeen could be challenging for you. Here, we just do not remove the scales, we remove the part of the outer skin to which scales are attached to it. So that the white or gray skin underneath can be exposed. That can be done with skilled hand with a sharp knife. The fins also need to be trimmed properly or you can get rid off them completely with the help of sharp kitchen scissors. Cleaning the fish takes time, so I rely on my fish vendor to do it. Also cleaning the fish is quite messy and the fishy smells that lingers after there for hours in your sink and hand can become really unpleasant and annoying. That’s the reason I always prefer nicely cleaned and gutted fishes from my vendor.

Pan Grilled Karimeen / Pearl Spot With Indian Green Chutney
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pan Grilled Karimeen / Pearl Spot fish With Indian Green Chutney
Recipe type: lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 5
  • Karimeen / pearl spot (medium) : 5
For masala paste :
  • Ginger - garlic paste (freshly prepared) : 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder : 2 tsp
  • Salt as required
  • Coriander powder (freshly ground): 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder : 2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder ( kashmiri): 2 tsp
  • Black pepper powder: ½ tsp
  • Oil : 2 tbsp
Hari chutney / green chutney
  • Coriander leaves / cilantro : 1 cup packed
  • Mint leaves : 1 cup packed
  • Green chillies : 2 or more as per heat tolerance
  • Ginger : 1 inch piece
  • Pepper corns ( I have used black, green and white, you can use black only, if others are not available to you): 1 tsp (coarsely grounded, hand pounded)
  • Lemon juice : 2 tbsp
  • Salt as required
Oil to fry or pan grilled
  1. Wash and clean the fish properly.
  2. Make a thick masala paste with the ingredient listed under masala paste, with the help of little water.
  3. Smear the fish generously with the masala paste, cover and leave for half an hour.
  4. If the fish size is big, you are going to require more paste. So prepare accordingly.
  5. Meanwhile make the green chutney.
  6. Add all the ingredients in blender jar and pulse till you get a coarse paste. Fine and smooth paste is not required here, so add water accordingly while blending it.
  7. I have used three types of peppercorns here, because I had it in my stock and white pepper really gives a distinct flavour to the dish. But you can use freshly pounded black pepper only in this recipe.
  8. Also, keep it in mind that the chutney should not be watery.
  9. Drizzle some oil on heated grilled pan. Place the fish gently and let it cook on both sides till it is golden brown and cooked through. This is a very soft fish, so it will get cooked in minutes.
  10. Once the fishes are ready, plate them on serving dish. Smear the fish thickly and generously with the prepared green chutney and serve it as a side with rice, sizzler meal or salad meal.


How to cook karimeen:

The fish is mostly suitable for grilled , smoked or simple pan -fried kind recipes but you can try karimeen curry too. Will share that recipe soon . It takes very little time to get cooked evenly from all sides and highly adaptable for any kind of spices and sauces.

Is Karimeen / pearl spot good for you ?

Karimeen / pearl spot is typical fresh water and back water fish. Kumarakom back water karimeen taste better than the regular ones and quite pricey too. Karimeen is low fat, high protein fish loaded with tons of nutritional values. So, definitely this little pearl of nutrition packed fish is helathy and good for you. My three year old loved this fish better than the big fishes of carp family. It’s absolutely safe for kids too.

Similar Fish Recipe?

If you do not have access to karimeen, you can adopt the same recipe for pomfret too. I had similar recipe with Tilapia fillet, do check that one too. Crispy  fried tilapia fillet with cilantro-almond sauce.


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