Banana leaf baked sambal market fish

Add a little ‘spice’ to your fish with this Mexican inspired dish cooked in banana leaves.

Serves:  4.  Chef:  Colin Doyle

4 x 150gm fillets market fish (snapper, terakihi, gurnard)
3cm piece galangal (available from Asian stores), or use dried
3cm piece turmeric (available from Asian stores), or use dried
3cm piece ginger
3 cloves garlic
3 shallots
1-2 chipotle chilli in adobo sauce (available from New World or specialty stores)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp palm sugar
4 pieces banana leaf, each approx. 30cm long
1 tbsp fried shallots
1 red chilli
1 spring onion
½ bunch coriander
¼ cup peanuts, toasted


1. With a microplane grater, grate the frozen (grates easier when frozen) galangal and turmeric along with the garlic and ginger. Finely chop the shallots and process to a smooth paste in a mortar & pestle or small food processor along with the chipotle chilli.
2. Heat the coconut oil and fry the shrimp paste for a second until it darkens and becomes fragrant. Add the shallots, chipotle chilli, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and galangal. Cook for a few minutes until the oil begins to separate. Check seasonings and add a little grated palm sugar to modify heat level. Set aside to cool briefly.
3. Take a banana leaf and wipe it with a damp cloth. Trim the inner rib and save for tying the parcel. Place a fillet of fish in the centre and add a quarter of the sambal sauce, coating both sides of the fillet. Fold the banana leaf from opposite corners to the centre, then from the corner closest fold to a tight parcel, tying with the trimmed rib of the leaf. Repeat with remaining fillets.
4. Place the parcels on a baking sheet and bake in a 180 °C oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
5. Thinly slice the red chilli and the spring onion on the bias, mix with fried shallots, peanuts and roughly torn coriander.
6. Serve the parcels on the banana leaf, with a little of the chilli & spring onion mixture on the side.

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