Wednesday, October 14, 2009

island style fish recipe

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.


  1. Would love to try this out...I know it's going to be delicious! Great series of photos. I've seen UG's recipes and loved going through them. "Island style" will have a different flavour...thanks for posting the recipe. And for your Diwali wishes too! HAPPY DIWALI!

  2. OOOOO.... so Island-y, Helen. I can just smell that grilled yumminess! Looks delish!

  3. H U N G R Y !!!
    I can't wait until weekend to do this. I wish there was a way you could ship some...!
    This is way too good.

    Thanks thanks thanks a tonne!

  4. These pictures looks delicious. I can almost smell the aroma of the banana leaf and spices. I love the smell of cooked banana leaves. It looks like our otak-otak which is also fish paste, seasoned with spices and wrapped in banana leaves like this.

  5. hmmmmm-jammy. I like your Kitchen!

    liebe Grüße Dörte

  6. oh my god, I never tried a banana meal... how I would love to!!!!
    Love the pictures of the pond.
    muchos cariños
    maría cecilia, from Chile

  7. Kanak .....this was delicious and you should try it!! HAPPY DIWALI TOO!! may be able to make this since bananas should grow up your way. This one is a keeper!

    Urban Green.....why don't you drop by for lunch ? LOL

    Autumn Belle....I have seen the recipe for Otak otak and I will try it soon.

    Dorte...danke German is not very good.

    Maria cecilla......Hola como esta?
    este delicioso y gracias.


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