Banana Leaves

Seafood Curry in Banana Leaf (Haw Mok Talay)Seafood Curry in Banana Leaf (Haw Mok Talay)

Ingredients:

    • 2 tbsps. red curry paste (from can or plastic tub is fine or better yet make your own)
    • 1 Tablespoon of oil
    • 2 cups coconut cream
    • 1 Tablespoon of rice flour
    • 1 lb. filet of a firm fish (1/2 ground in food processor, 1/2 in coarse cubes)
    • 1 lb. mixed shellfish-peeled shrimps, scallops, and mussels if desired
    • 2 large eggs, beaten
    • 5-6 makrut leaves (kaffir lime leaves), very finely julienned
    • 2 green onions chopped
    • 3 tbsps. nam pla (fish sauce)
    • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (reserve some for garnish)
    • 1 dozen cilantro roots, pound into a paste (optional)
    • 2-3 cups bok choy or Napa Cabbage cut into 1" pieces and lightly steamed in fish sauce and water, squeeze all the liquid out
    • 3 older banana leaves from outside of plant, split lengthwise with rib removed (or 1 pkg. frozen leaves)
    • 2 Thai or Serrano chile peppers, thinly julienned for garnish
  • How to prepare:
    • Fry the curry paste in the oil until fragrant.
    • Add the kaffir lime leaves, green onions, half the basil that has been chopped, and cilantro roots and continue frying for another minute or so.
    • Mix the rice flour with the liquid part of the can of coconut milk (about 1 cup). Pour this rice flour and coconut milk mixture into the curry paste, stirring to incorporate. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Add fish sauce and stir.
    • Take off the stove and add the rest of the coconut milk. Stir, and allow to cool. When cool add the ground fish and stir again.
    • Place fish chunks and shrimps, scallops and mussels in a large bowl. Pour beaten eggs over them. Mix to coat evenly.
    • When coconut milk curry mixture is cool, add a little to the seafood mixture in the bowl and stir. Add a little more at a time and stir thoroughly after each addition. This stirring is very important as it draws the moisture out of the fish and shellfish into the custard mixture.
    • Mix steamed and well drained (squeeze out excess liquid) bok choy or Napa Cabbage with basil leaves and distribute evenly in bottoms of banana leaf cups.
    • Place scallops, shrimps, chunks of fish and mussels if using into the cups.
    • Spoon the custard mixture into the banana leaf cups until nearly full and place in covered steamer for 20-25 minutes.
    • A few minutes before they are finished steaming, remove steamer cover and garnish tops with a little coconut cream and two or three strips of red chile pepper to suit your taste.
    • Serve with hot, steamed Jasmine rice.
    • Serves 4-6.

Grilled Whole Fish on Banana LeafGrilled Whole Fish on Banana Leaf

Ingredients:

    • 1 whole fish
    • sea salt & pepper
    • a handful of fresh herbs (I used Thai basil and cilantro)
    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
    • 1-3 banana leaves (about 3x larger than your fish) or double layer of tin foil
    • twine
    • lemon wedges
  • How to prepare:
    • Preheat your BBQ grill on high for 15 minutes. If you are using frozen banana leaf, defrost in sink in warm water, unfold.
    • 1. Clean your whole fish: Have your fishmonger scale and gut the fish for you. Its a messy business to scale a fish in your home kitchen sink! Even though your fishmonger gutted the fish for you – here’s an important tip. The lining of the gut area is very fishy tasting and smelling. Usually, the thin membrane is still attached. Just use the tip of the knife to scrape the tough membrane lining and pull it out. Sometimes the color is white, sometimes it is pinkish. After cleaning, with sharp knife, slash fish diagonally 3 times per side to allow it to cook more evenly (which I totally forgot to do in my photo).
    • 2. Season & stuff the whole fish: Season fish inside with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Stuff with fresh herbs – stems and all. Use twine to tie the fish so that the herbs don’t fall out during grilling. Brush both sides of fish with cooking oil. Season outside with sea salt and pepper.
    • 3. Grill: When the grill is hot, lay the banana leaf on the grate and gentlly place fish in the middle of the leaf. You can use multiple layers if you want. The leaf will curl and char into a wonderfully smoky brown color. Grill 6-10 minutes then carefully flip fish with a large spatula and grill another 6-10 minutes. My 1.5 pound fish took about 8 minutes per side. Check doneness by checking the thickest part of the fish – meat should separate easily and be flaky. Serve with lemon wedges.

Grilled banana with coconut sauceGrilled banana with coconut sauce

Grilled banana with coconut sauce is Khmer ethnic snacks. Most Khmer Krom snacks are homemade; most ingredients usually from our back yards like this simple and absolutely delicious recipe.

Ingredients:

    • 5 Large firm finger banana peeled
    • Banana leaf, cut 5 strips approx 3 inches width
  • How to prepare:
    • Wraps each banana in a strip of banana leaf. Grilled on low temperature till banana leaf golden brown.
    • Removes banana leaf and continue to grilled banana till both sides golden.
    • Put grilled banana in the middle of a large sheet of banana leaf or aluminum foil. Folds banana leaf or aluminum foil over grilled banana and press down lightly. Take grilled banana out and put it in a plate. Pour prepared coconut sauce on top before serve.
    • Serve warm.

Fish in banana leaves wrapFish in banana leaves wrap

Ingredients:

  • Step 1: - Ingredients for Marinating and roasting the fish:

    • 1 whole fish cleaned, preferably Pomfret,Tilapia;
    • 3 tsp chili powder;
    • 1/2 tsp pepper powder;
    • 1/4 tsp ginger powder;
    • 1/4 turmeric powder;
    • 1/4 tsp garlic paste;
    • Salt to taste;
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil) for frying
  • Step 2: - Ingredients for gravy:

    • 1 cup finely chopped red pearl onions/small onions (around 20-22 nos);
    • 1 1/4 tsbp finely chopped ginger
    • 6-8 finely chopped green chillies
    • 1 spring of curry leaves
    • A pinch of turmeric powder
    • A pinch of chilli powder
    • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
    • 1/4 cup thick coconut milk
    • Salt to taste
  • Step 3:

    • Banana Leaf - big enough to wrap the fish from all the sides.
  • How to prepare:

      Step 1

    • Make 4-5 slits on the cleaned fish; mix chilli powder, turmeric powder, pepper powder, ginger and garlic paste, lemon juice and salt with 1-2 tsp of water to make a thick paste and marinate the fish evenly on both sides and keep it for atleast 2 hours. The slits made on the fish will help the marinade to penetrate into the fish during this time Heat oil in a flat non-stick pan and place the fish, when the oil is steaming hot. Shallow fry the fish at medium heat by flipping each side when it is almost done; do not make it too crispy and do not overcook ; it should be soft and moist as the same fish is cooked again at the final stage. When the fish is done, (at this stage the oil will stop spluttering) transfer it to the gravy on the banana leaf,instructions for which follow

      Step 2

    • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and sauté the chopped small onions, ginger, green chilies and curry leaves, in low heat, until they are cooked and golden brown in colour and add a pinch of turmeric powder and chilli powder to get a roasted colour. At this stage, add the thick coconut milk (Users of canned coconut milk need to dilute it by adding some water- for eg: 3 tbsp of coconut milk & add 2tbsp water) and salt and mix well to make the gravy; just combine the gravy well and turn off the stove; do not boil/cook it at all.

      Final Step - Cooking in Banana Leaf Wrap

    • Mildly wilt the fresh and washed banana leaf by keeping it on a low flame; Place it in a large flat non-stick pan; Make a thin bed with half of the gravy and keep the roasted fish and top it with the rest of the gravy. Cover and wrap the fish completely by folding the banana leaf, from all the sides and place a lid on top and let it cook for 10-15 minutes on low flame, until the gravy is thick. Serve hot with rice. You may wilt one more banana leaf and wrap it again before serving, to make it look like 'banana leaf parcels'.

      Recommendations!

    • It is very different from the usual fish preparations like fish curry and fish fry. It is not very spicy but still I suggest reducing the number of green chilies for those who cannot eat hot n spicy type of food at all. And if you are lucky to prepare this with a fresh catch of Karimeen (Pearl Spots), then you will notice an oil coating on the sides of the fish along with the gravy, which is not there in my picture as I used a different fish. Oil coating mainly depends on a fatty fish and also on the freshly squeezed coconut milk. Instead of using one whole fish, the same preparation can be done with fish steak pieces, wrapped individually in banana leaf, to serve for a group. This is one of the most famous central Kerala delicacy that adorns the dining table at the time of guest visits as well as X’mas and Easter lunches.

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