Jungle Fish Cooked with Fresh Turmeric in
Banana Leaves Recipe
Steaming fish in banana leaves over hot
charcoal is a very traditional jungle method for cooking freshwater fish.
Banana leaves are large and tough, and serve as basic cooking vessels and
wrappers for all sorts of fish and meat. Here the fish is cooked in six
layers of leaves, allowing for the outer ones to burn. For this simple yet
extremely tasty dish you could use trout, any of the catfish or carp
family, or even talapia, which has been introduced to the waters of Laos
For the marinade
Freshwater fish fillets, such as trout, cut into bite-size chunks
Vegetable oil, for brushing
Turmeric root, peeled and grated
Spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
Green Thai chilies, seeded and finely chopped
Raw cane sugar
Ground black pepper
To make the marinade, grate the shallots
into a bowl. Combine with other marinade ingredients, seasoning with
salt and pepper.
Toss the chunks of fish in the marinade,
making sure they are well coated, then cover and chill for 6 hours, or
Prepare a barbecue. Place one of the
banana leaves on a flat surface and brush it with oil.
Tip the marinated fish on to the banana
leaf, spreading it out evenly, then fold over the sides to form an
Place this envelope, fold side down, on
top of another leaf and fold that one in the same manner. Repeat with
the remaining leaves until they are all used up.
Secure the last layer of banana leaves
with a piece of bendy wire.
Place the banana leaf packet on the
Cook for about 20 minutes, turning it over
from time to time to make sure it is cooked on both sides - the outer
leaves will burn.
Carefully untie the wire (it will be hot)
and unravel the banana leaf packet, then serve the fish with sticky
rice, noodles or salad.
Banana leaves are available in some
African and Asian stores and markets. If you can't find them, wrap the
fish in vine leaves that have been steeped in cold water, or large
flexible cabbage leaves. You can also use foil.