Recipes

Banana Leaf–Wrapped Green Curry Fish

I first had this mildly spicy curry-smeared fish in the northern capital of Chiang Mai steamed in ingeniously folded banana leaf packets that also served as a takeaway container. The banana leaf is 100% natural and compostable and infuses the fish with a subtle herby flavor. Look for banana leaf at Asian and Latino markets in the freezer section, or wrap the fish in Swiss chard leaves instead.

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Brandon Barre

Learn about common Thai ingredients and how to use them.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (TRY: Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Coconut Milk)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil
  • 1 tbsp green curry paste
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp date sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 10-inch-long frozen banana leaves, defrosted, or large Swiss chard leaves (bottom stalk discarded)
  • 4 6-oz boneless halibut fillets
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 1 red Fresno chile pepper, julienned, 
or ¼ cup julienned red bell pepper

Preparation

  1. In a blender, blend coconut milk, cilantro, basil, curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and turmeric until smooth.
  2. Cut away tough ribs from banana leaves and soak the leaves in a large skillet full of hot tap water to soften for 10 minutes to make them easier to fold. Drain the leaves and cut them into roughly 10-inch squares, removing the tough center rib. Place a square in the center of a cutting board and place 1 piece of fish in the center of the leaf. Spread with a quarter of the curry paste mixture. Place a lime leaf and a few pieces of pepper on top. Fold the sides of the banana leaf up and over the fish and wrap as you would a present with the seam on top. Secure the overlapping banana leaf with a few toothpicks. Repeat process with remaining fish.
  3. Arrange fish seam side up in a steamer rack and set the rack over simmering water in a large pot. Cover the pot or steamer basket and steam until fish is opaque when pierced with a paring knife, 8 to 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1 packet
  • Calories 200
  • Carbohydrate Content 1 g
  • Cholesterol Content 83 mg
  • Fat Content 5 g
  • Fiber Content 0 g
  • Protein Content 32.5 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 3 g
  • Sodium Content 469 mg
  • Sugar Content 5 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 0 g