Coconut and Coriander Fish Baked in Banana Leaf
A favourite from western India and a must at a Parsee wedding.
4 thick firm fish cutlets or fillets, such as snapper, mullet, mulloway, kingfish, barramundi, bream, perch, salmon, ling, cod or other meaty fish
4 pieces of banana leaf (each about twice the size of a fish cutlet or fillet), washed
100 ml white vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
Coconut and Coriander Paste:
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
45 g (1/2 cup) desiccated (grated dried) coconut
2 green chillies
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
1/2–1 tsp salt, or to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
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 thoroughly with the paste. Put each fish cutlet or 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.
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.