How to Cook Fish in Banana Leaves

Three Parts:Preparing the FishPreparing the Banana LeavesCooking the Fish in the Banana Leaves

Here is a recipe for cooking fish with a spicy gravy, wrapped in banana leaves. The use of banana leaves is commonplace in tropical to sub-tropical Asian cuisine, as a way to keep the moisture in.

Part 1
Preparing the Fish

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    Take a cleaned fish cut into square sized pieces. Mackerel, king fish or pomfret would be the best choice for this dish.
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    Marinate the fish pieces with salt, red chili powder and a dash of lemon juice.
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    Shallow fry the fish in a pan for few minutes so that it is a little cooked.
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    Prepare the sauce. Take a wok and heat 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) of oil.
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    Add the spices. When the oil is hot, turn down the flame add crushed garlic and ginger. Give it a stir and add finely chopped onion.
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    When the onion pieces are soft and mushy, add 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) pepper powder, 1 tablespoon coriander powder, pinch of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, to give a red color (this is optional) and a pinch of salt.
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    Cook the powdered ingredients until the raw smell disappears.
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    Add coconut milk. To the cooked mixture, add a cup of coconut milk and cook until the gravy becomes semi fluid.
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    Remove from the heat. Once done turn off the stove.

Part 2
Preparing the Banana Leaves

  1. 1
    Choose the right leaves. The best leaves for cooking with are the young leaves. They should be whole.
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    Wash the leaves with water, then wipe dry.
  3. 3
    Slice the thick vein off the back of the leaves using a sharp knife. Hold the leaf over a flame or hot coals, moving it back and forth. It is ready to use when it feels pliable and softer.
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    Cut the leaves into a large square pieces. Spread the pieces out on a table. Now pour a spoonful of cooked gravy in the center of each leaf square. Place a piece of fish fry. Pour another spoonful of cooked gravy on top of the fish and spread it around. Repeat for each leaf square made.

Part 3
Cooking the Fish in the Banana Leaves

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    Cover the fish carefully by folding the banana leaf square on all sides. Make sure that the gravy doesn't ooze out. To avoid the leaf falling apart, slightly tie it by wrapping around a thread (or use the strips of fiber cut off the leaf vein).
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    Repeat for all pieces. Then heat a flat pan on a stove and reduce the flame. Place the banana packets on the pan and cover it with a lid so that the packets are getting steamed.
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    Occasionally turn over the fish packets and cook by keeping covered. Make sure that the packets don't get burned.
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    On steaming, the oils will be automatically released and the fish will be cooked in the gravy.
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    Cook it for 5 minutes on either side. Take out and serve on a plate with the banana leaf.
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    Garnish with onion rings.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp kitchen knife
  • Marinating bowl
  • Wok
  • Stirring implement
  • Flat pan/frying pan/skillet, with lid
  • Lifting implement or tongs
  • Serving plates


Article Info

Categories: Fish and Seafood