Patra ni Machi

  • Time
    30 mins
  • Servings
  • Nutrition
    180 Per Serving

Patra ni machi is an impressive but simple dish of fish cooked in banana leaf. A tangy and spicy chutney is slathered on the fresh fish before it is wrapped in sturdy banana leaves and steamed for a healthy and appetizing meal.


This dish comes from the Parsi community in the northwestern state of Gujurat. It is usually served at weddings and special occasions. The banana leaf not only makes for a great steaming vessel but it also adds a fresh aroma to the fish. The fish is paired with aromatic Parsi brown rice, which is slightly sweet from the onions, complimenting the spicy chutney. Get ready, this dish is as fun to make as it is to eat.

Kitchen Tools

  • Large Pan
  • Medium Pot
  • Butter/Oil
  • Salt


  • 2 6 oz fillets of flaky white fish
  • 2 banana leaves
  • 4 toothpicks
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 oz green Chutney: 1 cup cilantro, ½ cup mint, 1 tablespoon cumin-coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons grated coconut, 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste, 1 green chili


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In a large pot over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Toast the spices for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the sliced onions and salt and saute for 5-8 minutes until nicely browned and caramelized. Meanwhile, wash and drain rice.

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Stir in the garam masala, 1 ½ cups water, and rice, and bring to a boil. Cover reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes until rice is cooked and fluffy. Turn off heat and set aside. Before serving give the rice to a stir to re-distribute the onions.

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While rice cooks, take each banana leaf and drizzle a few drops of oil on the dark waxy side. Lay the fish fillets over and salt both sides of fish. Spread the chutney over both sides of each fillet, patting down to make it stick.

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Fold the banana leaf over the sides of the fillet, then fold the top down and secure with one toothpick. Fold the bottom up and secure with another toothpick to complete the pouch. Repeat this with the other fillet.

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In a large flat pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Carefully place the pouches in the pan, toothpick side up. Cover the pan with a lid and allow to steam for 5 minutes. Open lid and flip pouches over - the banana leaf should look lighter on the cooked side. Close lid and cook for an additional 5 minutes and turn off heat.

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Place 1 cup rice on each plate. Remove the steamed fish from the banana leaves and place next to rice. Or place a fish pouch next to the rice for a fun presentation and allow guests to open up the package themselves. Just don’t eat the banana leaf!

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