bringie me banana.

New guest-appropriate grilled fish dish discovered tonight. Don't really know what it's called yet. It's essentially bali burgers crossed with Mara's old sate lilit recipe and wrapped in banana leaves instead of being skewered.

This was my first time cooking with the leaf of the banana (I know!), and really, they're great. Immediately two big fish-grilling problems are solved: one, there's no potential for sticking, which I don't care about so much if it's just the two of us, but if people are coming over it's nice to serve them something that doesn't look like it came out of a tumbledryer. And two, there's a vastly reduced potential for charring-beyond-recognition something with sugar in it.

If that weren't enough, it's also a way to use Cheap Dirk Fish for a dinner that seems fancy as all get-out.


ikan something.

A two-inch knob of ginger, peeled
A four-inch piece of turmeric, peeled
the useful part of 1 lemongrass stalk
10 good-sized shallots
10 candlenuts
6 cloves of garlic
5 red Holland chiles
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tomato
1 tsp belacan/shrimp paste
3 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp salt, or more to taste (i used more than 1 tsp, but not sure how much...we test again soon)

2 tbsp light brown, thin tamarind paste (maybe half that if you've got the thick, almost-black concentrate)
2 tbsp palm sugar

10 tbsp flaked unsweetened coconut
100ml coconut milk
5 green Thai chiles, minced (this is what the original recipe called for, we didn't do it, we will next time)
10 kaffir lime leaves, snipped into very thin slivers

1 kg catfish filets

Process first 12 ingredients in food processor until paste-like. Saute paste over medium-low heat, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes or until harsh taste is gone. Add tamarind and sugar, remove from heat and let cool. When cool, add coconut, coconut milk, like leaves, and fish, and stir to combine thoroughly. At this point I fried up one tiny bite's worth of the mixture so I could taste it and adjust the seasoning.

Ideally let the fish/paste mix sit for a couple of hours. Then make banana leaf parcels out of it. Grill for 10 minutes per side over a medium-hot fire. I ended up having them on the grill for almost 30 minutes with no discernible ill effects. This recipe makes 8 packets. Serve with sambal.

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