I had asked Urban Green from the urban balcony to post some of her recipes using banana leaf to cook fish in. She has posted several on her blog and I decided to try my hand with this style of cooking. The banana leaf is used by many cultures for cooking, baking and steaming. The West Indies with its large diaspora is no exception. In Barbados banana leaf is used to wrap and cook conkies, a national dessert that is prepared at independence time and at Christmas. I will soon post the recipe for this. In the other islands banana leaf is widely used in many forms of cooking. Today I decided to prepare some fish with an island flair.
You will need
4 white fish steaks or fillets(thick ones)
half of a large onion
4-6 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of curry powder
a small knob of ginger
a small hot pepper
a ripe plantain cut in half and sliced 3-4 times length ways
2 teaspoons of tom yum paste or shrimp paste
1 large banana leaf washed
Lightly rub the fish with jerk seasoning and refrigerate for several hours. Take banana leaf and slowly pass it over a hot burner or flame to make it pliable. I used my smooth top electric cooker to do this. Cut the banana leaf into sizable pieces enough to wrap the fish steaks. Make a thick paste of garlic onions hot pepper, ginger, curry powder and tom yum sauce (you can also use a shrimp sauce for this). I used a mini chopper to do this. Place the fish on a piece of banana leaf and spread the paste on the fish (skin side down). Place a slice of a ripe plantain (a nearly over ripe one) and dot with a blob of butter.
Fold the leaf over the fish and fasten with tooth picks to make a packet.
On a hot grill place the packets of fish and sear for a 2-3 minutes on each side. The imprint of the grill will be visible on the banana leaf.
Place the fish on a flat pan and place under the broiler for 15-20 minutes turning after the first 10 minutes. Use tongs to do this and please be careful of burning yourself. When done serve with coconut rice (rice cooked in coconut milk) and stir fried veggies. This is a delicious meal and the plantain adds that bit of pizazz to the fish. Happy Diwali to my friends who are celebrating this festival.