Banana leaves have been used in cooking around the world for centuries. The method can be found in Indian, Southeast Asian, Polynesian, and South American cuisine. Banana leaves keep the flavors of the dish intact similar to placing food in a foil. This recipe uses banana leaves to grill tilapia fillets seasoned with grounded chili paste, basil leaves, and kaffir lime leaves. The fish becomes tender, moist, and extra juicy. Perfect to eat with sticky rice for that authentic Thai lunch experience.
• 500 to 600 grams of boneless filleted tilapia fish
• 1.5 tsp of salt
• Kaffir lime leaves
• Sweet basil leaves
• Lemon basil leaves
• Banana leaves as wrapper
• 2 stalks of lemongrass
• 1 head of garlic
• 5 shallots
• 10 to 20 dry Thai chilies
• 3 to 5 fresh Thai bird chilies
• Peel of half a kaffir lime
• Half a finger of turmeric
• Half a tsp of salt
This recipe takes 1.5 to 2 hours to make. Serves 6 packs of fish.
Preheat the grill.
Peel garlic and slice off the skin of kaffir lime.
Roughly chop garlic and shallots.
Add salt in a stone mortar and then start pounding the chilies. Add the rest of the paste ingredients and pound for 15 minutes.
In a bowl, place the fish fillets, chili paste, and salt. Mix thoroughly until all the fillets are evenly coated.
Tear the banana leaves into 30 to 40 cm pieces until you have 12 pieces.
Place the banana leaves with the dull side up. Wipe with a moist cloth to remove dust.
Layer two pieces of banana leaf with the seams on the edges.
Put basil leaves on the banana leaves. Place the fish on top.
Garnish with kaffir leaves.
Wrap the banana leaves and secure with a toothpick.
Grill the packets of fish over medium heat for 15 minutes. Flip them occasionally.
Ideas And Tips:
• You can use any type of fish for this recipe. It is easier to buy fish already in fillet form. You can go another route by using meat like ground pork or chicken breasts.
• If there are no banana leaves available in your area, you can substitute with foil.
• A food processor or blender works as substitutes for the stone mortar and pestle to make the chili paste.
images – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKzGILERZ7E