Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Post: Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf

You may remember that I did a guest post for my friend Leemei of My Cooking Hut some time ago. I've done a few guest posts since then but will always be grateful to Leemei for being the first to invite me into her virtual home. Of course with the impressive array of beautiful and distinctive foods on her blog (like caramelized fresh pineapple cake, steamed fish and spinach rolls, or watermelon salad), I couldn't miss a chance to have her share something with us. It's hard to believe, but I think the dish below is the loveliest one yet from my talented cook and photographer friend. I'm delighted to welcome Leemei to my site this time and hope you'll make her feel right at home =D.

Not too long ago, Xiaolu from 6 Bittersweets wrote a lovely guest post about the scrumptious Cold Mung Bean Noodles on my blog. She later had asked me to share a savoury recipe on her blog. I should have got this done a while ago but due to my tight schedule, I had to postpone it.

Thanks to Xiaolu for being understanding for this long overdue post! I have chosen to share a delicious Malaysia dish – grilled fish in banana leaf. Thank you, Xiaolu, for giving me this wonderful opportunity to contribute to your lovely blog!

Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf
Malaysian food has always been understated. But, recent years, I have seen more and more Malaysian food being introduced to the Western world. It is pretty tricky to define what Malaysian food is as it is not a distinct cuisine but an array of food where the diversity is found through its multi-ethnic population of Malay, Indian, Eurasian, Chinese, Nyonya and the Indigenous people of Borneo.

Being brought up in a melting pot society with disparate rhythms and cultures, my taste buds have been taught to be bold and adventurous. My life has been very much connected to food since young. Where I come from is 45 minutes away from the Southern Thai border, which explains the Thai cooking influence in my cooking. I have to admit that I have been blessed to learn so much different taste and texture in food.

During my teenage years, there were many times my friends and I liked to organize BBQ. We easily got distracted in the classroom when we had a plan for BBQ outing. We would be busy thinking and discussing what each would bring.

As a seafood lover, I was always in charged in fish or other seafood. One of my signature dishes has to be fish wrapped in banana leaf. In Malay language, we simply call it Ikan Panggang. It is very common to use mackerel as it has really fine and soft flesh that doesn’t break easily. It is a very simple recipe yet tasty! Thanks to the fragrant spices that are used in this recipe. The use of banana leaf imparts a subtle fragrance to the fish as well as keeping it moist. Summer is soon approaching, it will definitely be a winner!

Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf [Printable Recipe
Serves 4

4 whole mackerel (cleaned and gutted, heads chopped off if desired)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sunflower oil
banana leaves and cocktail sticks for wrapping

Dipping sauce:
3 tbsp sweet dark soya sauce (kecap manis)
2 tsp chopped fresh red chili
2 - 3 tbsp lime juice

Rinse and dry mackerel with kitchen towel.

Mix ginger, coriander, chili, cumin, turmeric and salt in a bowl and mix with 2 tbsp spoon of water. Make a couple of slashes on both sides of the fish and rub curry paste on them, make sure it covers the diagonal cuts. Then, drizzle sunflower oil on the fish.

Wrap each fish with banana leaf and secure with cocktail sticks. Layer BBQ grill with banana leaf and cook fish parcels for 15 to 20 minutes, half the time for each side.

For the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Adjust acidity if necessary. Serve with grilled fish.

41 comments:

  1. What a lovely guest post! That recipe is fabulous. I really have to cook with mackerel.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I adore Malayasian food. It is becoming increasingly popular here in California. And most everyone I know has become familar with Malayasian style rotis...
    The fish looks delicious. Lovely photographs also...

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  3. Beautiful post and a lip smacking recipe. The banana leaves always takes me back home. So much flavor. In the state in India, where I grew up, there is a dish called "Paturi" where the fish and spices are steamed wrapped in banana leaves, exactly this way!! Now I want some with hot steaming rice.

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  4. Love love fish cooked in banan leaves. the flavor is just awesome!!! And love Leemei work. have been a reader for a while now :)

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  5. Sometime ago (and probably still) the Malaysian government provided a financial incentive to open Malaysian restaurants abroad. I think they provided subsidies and in return the restaurant had to showcase Malaysian products etc. And very recently Singapore has embarked on a plan to promote Singapore as a food destination - shipping containers will convert into pop up restaurants and these will pop up in London and other cities. I think we will be seeing more of Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine. Nasi Lemak is my favourite!

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  6. Beautiful! Fish in banana leaf is one of my favourites. I ate loads of it in Vietnam. Your Malaysian recipe looks lovely.
    Heidi xo

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  7. i am such a fan of Leemei and this recipe is wonderful!

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  8. Xiaolu,
    Thank you so much for this great opportunity to write and share a Malaysian recipe on your beautiful blog! It has been a great pleasure knowing you and keep up all the good work! Love your photography and recipes... !!

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  9. I've never cooked a whole fish before but I'm always so impressed with those who do! this looks amazing!

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  10. Lovely ikan panggang, Leemei! We call this pepes or brengkes, but it's only for fish. It's also for seafood, mushroom, and tofu.

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  11. At first glance I thought this was Japanese until I read more through it... I love Saba, and this is one of my favorite ways of having it.

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  12. This reminds me of some of the best meals I had in Thailand this winter!!! I've been cooking with whole fish since getting back.

    Leemei, in addition to this sauce, are you familiar with how to make the green dipping sauce found in Thailand for fish?

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  13. Yummm those fishies look delish!

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  14. Sips and SpoonfulsApril 27, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Those fish are calling my name....I've just been recently introduced to Leemei's work and I'm in love with her photos. So enticing.

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  15. I'm glad you all are enjoying this post. Isn't Leemei just gifted? =)

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  16. This is just the way I like fish.In India, we make a similar kind with drizzle of mustard oil and spices.I love the presentation on banana leaf.Very yum looking.

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  17. I almost always grill fish in banana leaf. I love this Malaysian recipe. Looks great and I think it will go perfectly down my family's belly!

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  18. Like Soma said it's very similar to one of our bengali fish dish called 'Paturi' and I absolutely love it with some plain steam white rice. I have to try this sometime.. drooling right now :)

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  19. Interesting and I'm sure it tastes wonderful..I'm loving this recipe..Thanks for sharing guys!

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  20. I love mackarel. This is a wonderful way of cooking it. I will have to keep it in mind when I see them at the local seafood market. Gorgeous photos too!

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  21. Yummy! I love malay food and this looks lovely... I also love the banana leaf presentation! :) Thanks for sharing...

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  22. I totally agree with Leemei that those of us who grew up with Straits cuisines have acquired a bolder and more adventurous palate for food. Love the way the fish was grilled so beautifully!

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  23. I love the grilled banana leaf flavour mingle with the mackerel, just delicious! And the photography is excellent as usual from Leemei :)

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  24. I have never had mackerel prepared this way...very interesting and delicious.

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  25. This fish in banana scenario is very rich in Asia. I had enjoyed so much of similar recipes in Thailand and the Philippines. We've tried sprinkling chili all over the fish and it rendered us a super exotic tasting grilled fish. So hot and yummy! Thanks for this new recipe.

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  26. Fish never looked so beautiful or tasty. Wow. I'm quite taken with this. Thanks so much for posting! xo

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  27. Oh! This fish looks delicious, perfect grilled and the sauce with lime sounds just right with the fish. Hope you are having a wonderful week :-)

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  28. This looks amazing and im not a big fish fan!!! you might have convinced me to try it. thanks for sharing! (liza)

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  29. Hi Xiaolu, This is looking absolutely delightful. Very nicely made and presented. Have a great day ...Regards, Sonia !!!

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  30. When I was in Borneo over the summer living in a rural village doing community work, we caught fish and cooked them on some local banana leaves that we collected. It was delicious, just like yours looks!

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  31. I haven't cooked alot of fish but this is where I may start. This looks great!

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  32. Thanks for your comments, everyone! Glad you're finding Leemei's dish as appetizing as I do =D

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  33. What a gorgeous looking dish! The spice combination sounds perfect :) Bravo!

    Aldy.

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  34. Ikan panggang!! I've always made it with ray wings, not thought to use mackerel - will have to try that now! Great post, and gorgeous photos.

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  35. What can I say... your shot is beautiful and the dish reminds me of how much I miss it. Thank you for sharing! :)

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  36. Mimi,
    Not too sure about the Thai green dipping sauce. I would imagine it could be Chilli, Holy Basil & Garlic dipping sauce.

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  37. I can almost smell it from here. The spices and flavours are incredible. Beautiful shot.

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  38. Any way this could be adapted for the oven? What temperature/time would you recommend?

    R.

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  39. Rachel,
    You can definitely use oven. Preheat oven at 200°C/400°F, for 15-20 minutes.

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  40. By "layer the grill with banana leaves" - does that mean these are additional leaves to be placed on the grill so the parcel is not cooked over direct heat? Thanks!

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  41. Hi Jess - I believe that's what Leemei meant in her recipe, yes.

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I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu