Monday, July 7, 2014

Coconut and Coriander Fish Baked in Banana Leaves

I chose to cook this recipe from Spice Kitchen because of its description; A favourite from western India and a must at a Parsee wedding. This delicious recipe is one of the most popular dishes on the Spice Kitchen menu. It is especially loved by those who do not like their fish in a curry. You can serve it with steamed basmati or other long-grain rice or a leafy green salad.

Doesn't it sound interesting and different from our normal Indian food?

The cast of ingredients:
Ingredients for Coconut and Coriander Fish

The recipe calls for ginger and garlic paste. I prefer to blend my ginger and garlic fresh instead of pre grinding and storing it until needed.

After blending everything together:
Paste of Ingredients for Coconut and Coriander Fish

I didn't manage to take photos of the fish before it was put in the oven.  This is the fish after it has been baked:
Coconut and Coriander Fish Baked in Banana Leaves

The fish has a distinctive Indian flavour (which I think comes from the cumin powder). But the coconut and coriander paste makes the dish rather unique and interesting. It's not like any of the Indian dishes that I have tried before (both Southern and Northern Indian dishes).
The coriander leaves gives the dish a herbaceous flavour but not too much that it overpowers the overall taste. The desiccated coconut adds creaminess and somehow makes a normally delicate fish dish heartier.

My whole family including my 7 year old son likes this dish!

Here's the recipe:
Coconut and Coriander Fish Baked in Banana Leaves
  • 4 × 200 g (7 oz) thick firm fish fillets, such as snapper, mullet, mulloway, kingfish, barramundi, bream, perch, salmon, ling, cod or other meaty fish. (I decided to cut my fish into two instead of filleting them)
  • 4 pieces of banana leaf (each about twice the size of the fish fillet), washed (see Note)
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • lime cheeks to serve
Coconut and Coriander Paste
  • ½ teaspoon ginger paste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic paste
  • 45 g (1½ oz/½ cup) desiccated (grated dried) coconut
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • ½–1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

To make the coconut and coriander paste, blend the ginger and garlic pastes, coconut, chillies, cumin, lemon juice, coriander and salt in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste.

Coat the fish fillets thoroughly with the paste. Put each fillet in the middle of a piece of banana leaf and wrap it up: fold in the end closest to you first, then the sides, then fold over the top.

Mix together the vinegar and oil in a shallow baking dish, then carefully put the fish parcels, folded side down, in the dish. (I didn't do this)

Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes. Carefully unwrap the parcel to check that the fish is ready – it should be just cooked and moist, and flake easily when pressed. Serve hot, with the lime cheeks on the side for squeezing over.

Note: If banana leaves are not available, you could try lotus leaves for a different flavour, or simply use baking paper

From Spice Kitchen

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