Banana Leaf Spicy Fish

Banana Leaf Spicy Fish


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This is a great fish dish that is easy to prepare; a paste is made from spices including chilli, tamarind, turmeric and garlic which is spread onto the fish which is then wrapped in a banana leaf before being barbecued or steamed.


Serves: 4 

  • 3 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 candlenuts
  • 5cm piece turmeric or 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 3 red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind soaked in 60ml water
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 kg whole fish like red snapper or tilapia, cleaned and gutted
  • banana leaves cut to a rectangle large enough to wrap the fish
  • 2 sprigs lemon basil leaves

Preparation:15min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:45min 

  1. Using a mortar and pestle or food processor blend the shallots, garlic, candlenuts, turmeric, chillies, shrimp paste, tamarind, tomato, sugar and salt until a smooth paste forms.
  2. Make slits on both sides of the fish and spread evenly with the paste.
  3. Place the fish on the banana leaf and lay the lemon basil leaves on top. Fold into a parcel securing the ends with toothpicks.
  4. Either steam the fish for about 30 minutes or barbecue over charcoal for about 10 to 15 minutes on each side until the leaf edges are getting charred.
  5. Slowly open the parcel to check; if the fish is opaque and the flesh flakes easily with a fork it is cooked.

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