Meenpathiri (steamed rice pancakes filled with rich fish masala)

Main Dish
6 servings
20 min
45 min


Number of serving: 6

For the pathiri:

2 cups Parboiled rice (Puzhukkalari, best is Ponni rice, Long grain rice can be substituted)

1 ½ tablespoon fennel seeds (Perumjeerakam)

1 ¾ cups grated coconut

1 ½ cups water

1 cup rice flour

Salt As reqd

For frying fish:

600 g (4 large piece) King fish

1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder

2 teaspoons coriander powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons water

6 tablespoons oil

For the masala:

3 Large onion (510 g, 4 cups chopped)

5 large cloves of garlic (1 heaped tablespoon, grated)

2 medium Tomatoes (150 g, 1 cup chopped)

2 teaspoons Kashmiri Chilli Powder

3 teaspoons Coriander powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1-1 ½ tablespoon Lime/lemon juice

2 twigs curry leaves, chopped

6-8 mint leaves, chopped

3 tablespoons coriander leaves

4 tablespoons water

½ teaspoon garam masala

For coconut paste:

½ cup grated coconut

½ teaspoon fennel seeds (perumjeerakam)

2 shallots

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) water


  • Rub the fish with salt and lemon juice to get rid of the raw smell. Wash it thoroughly.
    Make a thick paste of all the powders with water and marinate fish for about ½ hour -1 hour.
    Make a smooth coconut paste by grinding the coconut, fennel, 2 shallots and water.
  • Heat a large frying pan and add oil. Fry the fish well. Remove from flame, remove the bones and break each piece into 4-6 portions. Keep them aside.
    In the same pan, add onions and salt and sauté until it becomes soft and translucent. Add ginger, garlic and sauté for few minutes until the onion is cooked very well. Add chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for few seconds.
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes, cover and cook till the tomatoes are soft and cooked. Add the coconut paste and ¼ cup water (less or more as required to get a very thick, not dry and not watery gravy/masala). Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until the raw smell of the coconut goes away. Add the chopped leaves, lime/lemon juice and garam masala and stir well, cook for a minute or two. Add the fish pieces, cover and cook on very low flame until all the flavour is infused well for about 8-10 minutes.
  • For the making pathiris and assembling:
    Soak the rice in tap water for 3-4 hours.
    Grind it along with minimal water until you get a coarse and grainy mixture.
    Add coconut, fennel seeds and roughly chopped onions to this and grind for few seconds until everything is just crushed and NOT smooth.
  • Tip the whole mixture in to a large bowl, add salt and mix well.
    Add the rice powder and mix well using hands until you get dough that can be shaped into balls.
  • Take a small portion from the rice dough, make a ball and flatten it in a sheet using the heel of your palm. Add some masala in the centre along with the fish pieces, leaving a cm from the circumference.
  • Make another pathiri in another sheet the same way, a bit bigger than the previous one and cover the masala filled pathiri, covering the masalas completely. Slowly press the edges using the fingers to seal all the fish masala in. Carefully lift the sheet/banana leaf and place it in a steamer. Steam cook for about 10-12 minutes or until the pathiri is firm. Hold all the edges of the banana leaf/baking paper and lift out the meenPathiris. (Beware steam getting into hands)
    Repeat the same process until all the masalas and the rice are used up.


MeenPathiri (Steamed Rice Pancakes Filled with Rich Fish Masala), photo 1
MeenPathiri (Steamed Rice Pancakes Filled with Rich Fish Masala), photo 2


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