Karimeen Fish is recipes are common in Kerela Household. During our Kerala backwater trip we ate it in out House boat journey. It was a fresh catch from Vembanad lake(as was told by the chef of the houseboat) and populously known as Kala fish to the tourists. May be due to its blackish skin. In English it is named as pearl spot fish. It has pearl sized light coloured spot on the skin. It is single bone fish and perfect for deep fry or grill. I spotted this fish in the local market and immediately picked it to cook like the chef had cooked for us in the house boat. He had deep fried it with Indian spices but I preferred it to grill with same spices with minor changes.
Whole Fish- Karimeen/Perl Spot – 1 Dressed and slit on the body.
Coriander powder- 1 tspn
Cumin powder- ½ tspn
Red chili powder- 1 tspn
Garlic powder powder- ½ tspn
Onion powder- 1 tspn
Turmeric powder- ½ tspn
Kosher/sea salt- ½ tspn or to taste
Lemon juice- 1 lemon
Oil – 2 tblspn/enough for grilling. Divided
Mix all the spices and ½ of oil. Rub it on fish to coat it from all sides. Put some masalas inside the slit and the belly. Put the squeezed lemon inside the belly. Keep it to marinate for 1 hr.
Now take a grill pan. Heat and Pour rest of the oil. Place the fish. Pan will be smoky. Let it be. The fish will get the grill mark on its body. Let it cook on hish heat for 3 mins. Flip it . Both sides will get the grill mark. Now reduce the heat and cook . I covered it loosely for some times so that the fish gets cooked from inside with the steam. My pan is in square shape and the lid is round shaped. So it remained open from all sides. I wanted to be ensured that the fish should not remain uncooked from inside. Many people grill it open to. Its your choice. The surface will be browned and fish will be soft from inside. Total time taken was 20 mins. 10 mins in high heat 10 mins in medium heat.
Second option is- After getting the grill mark in the fish transfer (if the grill pan is too big) it to a pan which can fit in your oven. Grill in the oven for 15 mins.
Serve with mustard based sauce. Mix mustard paste in hung curd or meyo. Perfect accompaniment. Squeeze some lemon juice over the fish. Enjoy.