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Recipe for :

Patra ni Macchi - Steamed Halibut Wrapped in a Banana Leaf

This recipe comes from Vikas Khanna an Indian chef now living and teaching as well as cooking in New York.

When asked to give a brief summary of how he came to be where he is today this is what Vikas had to say:

I was born in the holy city of Amritsar, India. I did not have to try different jobs to understand and decide out about my profession. I just wanted to be in the food business from the very childhood. At the age of ten, I started creating my own recipes and ways to present them. I ran my own banquets at the age of sixteen and wanted to develop my passion professionally. I graduated from the prestigious WelcomGroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration. During this period I was trained under some of the top Food Authorities of India at the flagship hotels of Sheraton, Taj, WelcomGroup, Oberoi, Kempinski, Cater to Cater and Essex banquets. After gaining enough experience I took my business, with the help of my family, to one of the most popular banquets and catering services in North India. Lawrence Gardens is one of the favorite banquets in Punjab.

During this period I had hundreds of opportunities to take my concept of banquets all over the country. While, I was focusing to take my profession Internationally I moved to New York City in 2000 and studied at some of the major Culinary Institutes in the US like Culinary Institute of America, Massachusetts Culinary Arts, New School, New York University and lots more. I served as The Executive Chef of the Salaam Bombay Restaurant, New York and was appreciated for my culinary genius by press from all over the world and my gastronomic peers. Today I have affiliations from The James Beard Foundation, New York University, Cornell University, Wall Street Rising, Taste of Tribeca, Just One Break, International Association of Culinary Professionals, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Johnson and Wales University, New York Public Library and many more.

Vikas has his own web site which contains additional information <click here>

"In temples and some traditional homes meals are often served on a banana or lotus leaf, which imparts a lovely fragrance to the meal. In this Parsi specialty the fish is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed, aluminium foil works well as a substitute for the leaf. You can also use any fish fillet of your choice".

Ingredients

1 cup shredded fresh coconut or 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 curry leaves
4 banana leaves or squares of aluminium foil, cut into 8 inch squares
1 pound fresh halibut fillet

Method

  • Place the coconut, cilantro, mint, garlic, cumin seeds with a little water in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste.
  • Add the lemon juice, sugar and salt.
  • Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and stir fry the curry leaves until crisp. Add the leaves and their cooking oil to the coconut mixture.
  • Divide the fillets into four equal sizes.
  • Gently rub them with the marinade and place them on a banana leaf and top them with more of the mixture.
  • Carefully seal the leaf like an envelope, making sure that the mixture does not come out during steaming.
  • Place on a perforated tray and steam in a steamer for almost 20 minutes, until the fish is well cooked.
  • Serve it hot, with the wrapped leaf on the fish.

Serves 4

Vikas Khanna

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