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What is Steamed Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves?


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Steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves is a savoury main course dish. It’s an oil-free cuisine infused with the freshness of coriander leaves, flavourful spices, nutty coconut texture and a mesmerizing aroma of lemon. Each of the ingredients used in this recipe has unique health benefits. Moreover, the no-oil and no-frying technique add to the healthy quotient. This dish is quite popular in South India especially because of the recipe's exquisite taste and cooking technique. Cooking or serving in banana leaves helps extract the maximum nourishment from the food. The delight of opening a homemade steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves is a wonderful experience. Serving this dish at family gatherings or parties will definitely impress the guests.

How to Cook

This steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves is an effortless recipe. Most of the work is done by the grinder and the steamer. The fresh herb, spices, lemony zing, subtle saltiness, and rich coconut flavours merge beautifully into the fish fillets. One needs about 70-90 minutes to relish this fragrant pomfret fillets steamed delicately to melt in the mouth.


You will need:

  • Pomfret fish (8 boneless fillets)
  • Lemon juice (6 tablespoons)
  • Fresh coriander leaves (1 cup)
  • Coconut (3/4 cup, scraped)
  • 2 small green chillies
  • Garlic (5-7 cloves)
  • Turmeric powder (1 teaspoon)
  • Cumin powder (1 teaspoon)
  • Red chilli powder (1 teaspoon) (optional)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 banana leaves (each leaf cut in 4 pieces)


To prepare the fish

Place all the fish fillets in a plate without overlapping. Coat them with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and a light drizzle of salt. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.

To make the Marinade

Take a grinder and make a smooth paste of coriander leaves, coconut, green chillies, and garlic. To this paste, add the spice powders (turmeric, cumin, and red chilli), a pinch of salt and the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Give it a nice mix. Coat the fish fillets on both sides with the marinade mixture. Let it sit for another 10 minutes. To make the Steamed Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves Take 1/4 of a banana leaf. Place one marinated fish fillet in the leaf and wrap it properly. Repeat the process for the rest 7 fish fillets. Place the wrapped fish fillets in the steamer. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side.   The steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves is ready to be served!

Important Notes

  • When using the whole fish, making some light cuts on the fish can help absorb the marinade well.
  • Those who prefer mint flavour can add half a cup of fresh mint leaves and half a cup of coriander leaves instead of using 1 cup of coriander leaves.
  • Wilting the banana leaf for a few seconds on each side can save it from tearing while wrapping the fillets.
  • A tablespoon of olive oil can be added to the marinade mixture to enhance the flavours.
  • White vinegar is a great alternative for lemon juice.

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