Steamed Fish Parcels with Lemon Basil

Steamed Fish Parcels with Lemon Basil


4 x 50g skinless white fish fillets
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 Tbs oil
200mL coconut milk
30g lemon basil, or Thai basil
1 birds eye chilli, seeded and sliced
1 large tomato, sliced into 8 rounds

Bumbu spice paste:

1 lemongrass stick
1 large red chilli, seeded
1 birds eye chilli (optional)
3 small red Asian shallots
3 garlic cloves
2cm piece of galangal, skin scrubbed
1cm piece of ginger, peeled
1cm piece of turmeric, peeled, or 1/2 tsp dried turmeric

Banana leaves or foil for wrapping


In a bowl, toss the fish fillets with lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave to marinate out of the fridge, while preparing the bumbu.

Bumbu spice paste:

Trim the lemongrass to the pale white and lilac part, bruise with the handle of a knife, then finely slice.

Roughly chop the remaining ingredients and blend everything to a paste in a food processor, or high-speed blender. Adding a little water will help the blades bring everything together.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan and cook the bumbu over a medium heat, stirring often for about 10 minutes, until the raw garlic taste has gone and the oil separates from the spices.

Add the coconut milk and bumbu to the fish, turning to coat fillets well.

Cut 8 pieces of softened banana leaves, each large enough to wrap a fish fillet. Lay them out in double thickness, with a generous layer of lemon basil leaves on each and a fish fillet on top, making sure you include all the coconutty marinade.

Scatter a little chilli over the top followed by two slices of tomato, then bury under another mound of lemon basil. Wrap the parcels well, securing the bamboo skewers or a ribbon of banana leaf.

If you have time, leave to marinated in the fridge for up to 4 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Space out the parcels on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and leave to rest for 5 minutes before opening parcels at the table.

Credits: ‘Images and recipes from Fire Islands by Eleanor Ford, Murdoch Books RRP ‘$49.99’. Out now.

Photo Credits: Photography by Kristin Perers

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