Puzhungapathil/ Meen vecha pathil (Steamed Rice Pancakes stuffed with Fish Masala)

 Puzhungapathil/ Meen vecha pathil (Steamed Rice Pancakes stuffed with Fish Masala)

Here I am sharing the recipe of puzhungapathil, something I despised until few years ago. Never did I imagine Iwould actually be posting the recipe of puzhungapathil, or aka meen vecha pathil, it's more like a Kerala version of stuffed pizza, at least that's how it is popularly known among kids. :D

This pathil is one of the most popular dinner dishes originating from Thalassery, where a dough is made of rice flour and spread with a layer of fish masala made using ground coconut, over which fried fish is placed and finally a similar layer of rice flour dough is smeared with the fish masala and placed over the fried fish layer, the masala smeared side facing downwards. The sides of the pathil are pressed slightly to close the edges which might leave finger impression son the edges.

The process might seem tedious and may look like huge task, but when the work is divided, and done in advance, it's easier to assemble and prepare the final product. The rice need to be soaked and ground and made into a dough adding roce flour and set aside. Prepare the fish masala and fish fry and set aside and assemble them and steam them, when required for around 20 minutes each. The name puzhungapathil comes as the pathil (roti) is made using the steaming method (puzhungal) so we call it puzhungapathil, puzhungalarotti, meen vecha pathil, etc. The same pathil is made into a crescent shape and stuffed with the masala and fried fish and is called Meen ada. Some people like to make the masala like dry fry, I prefer the more moist version, and also in some versions, the fried fish is pulled apart and the flesh is added to the masala. No matter what fish you choose for the masala, adding prawns always takes the flavor of the masala to a next level. Puzhungapathil with a glass of Sulaimani (black tea) is a must. It always tastes the best the next morning..mmmm.. Yummmm!!

Here I have used kingfish and prawns. I am sure you will love this TRADITIONAL Malabar dinner! Without further a do, let's see how it's done!

Ingredients : (makes around 7-8 medium pathils)

For Pathil:

  • 3 cups ready made rice powder/ 2 cups Puzhungalari (par boiled rice) soaked in medium hot water for 4-5 hours
  • 1/2 box Shredded Coconut
  • 1 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder
  • 1/2 Onion, roughly chopped
  • Salt, as required

For Frying fish:

  • 100 gms Prawns, cleaned and deviened (marinated in turmeric, chilli powder and salt)
  • 250 gms King Fish slices (marinated in turmeric, chilli powder and salt)
  • Coconut oil, for frying
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves

For the masala/ filling:

  • 1/2 + 3 tbsp box Shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 Onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic, freshly pound 
  • 2 sprigs Curry leaves
  • 1 Tomato, chopped 
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Kashmir red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 3 Green chillies, slit
  • Salt, as required

Instructions :

  1. You may prepare the pathil using two method - either by soaking the Puzhungalari in warm water for 4-5 hours and tightening the dough using rice powder or only using rice powder and adding water according to package and adding a mixture of ground paste that consists of coconut, fennel seeds, garam masala powder and onion and preparing a rice dough. Cover the bowl and set aside.
  2. To prepare the filling, first fry the king fish and prawns in coconut oil with curry leaves (3-4 minutes) and set aside.
  3. In an earthern pot or any pot of your choice, pour the residual coconut oil that was used for frying the fish.
  4. Add the sliced onion, curry leaves and add salt and saute until translucent .
  5. Next add in the pound ginger garlic paste, saute until raw smell disappears.
  6. Add in the chopped tomatoes, mix and place lid and allow to cook for 1-2 mins, until mushy.
  7. Next, add in the spices like turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and coriander powder, sauté well.
  8. Add salt, if required and allow the ingredients to combine, you can know this when the oil starts separating from the masala.
  9. Now, add in the slit green chillies and mix.
  10. In a mixer grinder, add in the coconut and fennel seeds and grind to a coarse paste.
  11. Add water and salt as required, allow to come to a boil.
  12. Now add the fried fishes and allow to simmer on low for 2-3 minutes. Allow the masala to cool before filling the pathil.

  13. The dough that has been resting has to be made into balls of same quantity.
  14. On a banana leaf/ Aluminum foil sheet, rub a good amount of coconut oil and place a ball and spread the rice dough ball using your fingers or using the back of a flat lid. (oiled) and flatten well, not as thin thin as a roti 

  15. Onto the flattened rice dough, spread the masala and place the fried fish (kigh fish and 3-4 prawns) and similarly repeat the process for another piece of dough ball, but this time only spread the filling and don't place the fried fish.

  16. Now flip the flattened pathil with only the masala filling and slowly hovering it above the pathil with fried fish with the masala side facing down, slowly place one end of the pathil one the oathil with the fish and slowly slide the banana leaf off, and seal the edges using your finger impressions .

  17. Now to a pre boiling steamer, place the prepared pathil and allow to steam for 20- 25 minutes depending upon the size of the pathil.

  18. Once taken out, allow to cool, slice to desired sizes, and enjoy with a hot cup of sulamani (black tea).


Make sure the filling isn't too dry or too watery.
The rice dough should be too hard, if it's hard, the dough will have cracks and if the dough is too loose, it will not hold its shape.
Prepare the filling in advance, so that the preparation becomes easier.

Do try this recipe and don't forget to share your experience/feedback with me here in the comments or feel free to send me a mail. Also, do tag me at #taystedit if you try out my recipes on Facebook, Instagram etc so that I can see when you make it. ♡♡♡♡

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