Cooking fish in banana leaf is very common in kerala, India. However I have been thinking of trying it for a long time now. Getting fresh banana leaves here in USA, is very hard. Hence, I got frozen banana leaves from a Mexican Grocery Store. Though one can never compare cooking in a fresh banana leaf and a frozen leaf, this is the best I could do with the available ingredients. Check in the frozen section at Indian or Mexican Grocery stores for the frozen banana leaves. I used a frozen Cod fillet for this recipe, you can use any of the available fish.
Banana leaf - 1
Fish Pieces/Fillet - 2
Fresh Curry Leaves - 3-4, finely chopped
Oil - 1 tsp
For the Marinade:
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 small, roughly chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Garlic - 2 pods
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Lime/Lemon - 1/2 squeezed
Salt - as per taste
Method of Preparation:
1. If using a frozen banana leaf, wash it with cold water and pat it dry using a kitchen towel and leave it at room temperature for around an hour.
2. Grind all the ingredients for the marinade into a smooth paste.
3. Apply the marinade to the fish pieces evenly and let them rest in the refrigerator for around 2 hours.
4. Fold the banana leaf into half, so that you have double layer of the leaf to work with.
5. Place the fish pieces in the center, sprinkle the chopped curry leaves on them and then fold the leaf edges to form a parcel with the fish pieces in the middle.
6. Heat a pan/tawa, add a teaspoon of oil and place the fish pieces wrapped in banana leaf on it.
7. If using small pieces of fish, turn the fish parcel around in 3-4 minutes and if working with large fish pieces, turn it around in 4-5 minutes. Let the fish cook for 3 minutes and switch off the heat. let the fish rest on the hot tawa for a while.
8. Enjoy the fish in a banana leaf while it is still warm.