You just can't go wrong with this combination of flavors. It's
open to all white-fleshed fish. Banana leaves are very easy to
buy from Asian or Latino markets. Get nice big ones to wrap
your fish up in. Failing banana leaves, you can use vine leaves,
which you can get in the supermarkets, somewhat smaller, but
no less tasty for that. If you really can't get hold of any leaves
then kitchen foil will do.
4 large banana leaves or vine leaves
A little olive oil
2 fresh red chiles
2 sticks lemon grass, outer leaves removed, centers finely
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 good handfuls fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 limes, juiced and zested
1 (400 milliliter) can coconut milk
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
A drizzle fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 heaped tablespoons finely sliced fresh ginger
4 (6 to 8 ounce /170 to 225 gram) pieces monkfish (can use
other more abundant white-fleshed fish, such as Pacific mahi
mahi, farmed striped bass, or farmed catfish)
4 rosemary sprigs or bay leaf sticks, to secure
Method how to make Monkfish Wrapped in Banana leaves with Ginger, Cilantro, Chile, and Coconut
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C/gas 8).
To make the banana leaves more pliable, hold for a few seconds
over a gas flame. Leaving aside the fish and herb sticks, pound
the rest of the ingredients in a pestle and mortar to make a
thick paste and spoon a little onto each banana leaf. Place the
fish on top and then spoon the rest of the paste on the top.
Bringing the sides in and spiking it with a rosemary sprig or bay
leaf stick to secure it. This will look lovely and it is natural, but I
have been known to use a clothes peg or string to hold it all
together. It won't be a perfect seal but this allows it to breath
and steam, letting the flavours infuse, so gutsy and tasty. Put
the parcels on a tray and bake for 15 minutes, then remove
from the oven, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
I serve the individual parcels on plates at the table and let my
friends dissect them. When opened, the fragrant steam wafts
up and smells fantastic. Serve with plain boiled rice to mop up
the juices, that's all it has to be. End of story, done, lovely.