Friday, October 9, 2009

Banana leaf special...Part II

This is an extension of an earlier post: Banana leaf special Part I

Cooking in banana leaves is considered beneficial for health, besides tasting good. I'm an experiment freak and have had excellent results so far. When Ma called a couple of days back to share her recipe, I was eager to try. I got a banana leaf from my garden and started. The dish turned out delicious. I prepared it in my favorite steamer, handed down from my grandmother. My husband lent a hand with cooking so that made it extra special too.
Steamed fish in mustard sauce

Here's what you need and how you do it :
4 pieces hilsa /shad fish
1 large banana leaf (washed thoroughly and left to dry, and the central rib removed before use)
2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds (soaked in lukewarm water for half hour)
1 tbsp poppy seeds (soaked in lukewarm water for half hour)
5-6 cashew nuts (soaked in lukewarm water for half hour)
4-5 almonds (soaked in lukewarm water for half hour)
2 green chillies
1.5 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp mustard oil

Marinate the fish pieces in salt, turmeric powder and 1 tsp mustard oil and set aside for half an hour. Grind yellow mustard, poppy seeds, cashew, almonds, green chillies with little water into a thick paste. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tbsp mustard oil and salt (to taste) and mix well. Coat the marinated fish pieces with the paste.
Lightly brush the washed and dry banana leaves with oil and warm it over the flame. This softens the leaves. Cutting them into pieces and folding becomes easier.
Each coated piece is transferred to a separate banana leaf piece, topped with a green chilly, wrapped carefully and secured with a thread. These folded pieces go into the steamer for about 15-20 minutes. Once done, the pieces are lifted out gently and served with steaming rice.

Do let me know how it turned out for you.


  1. Oh, my. Your recipe looks just scrumptious. Wish I had access to banana leaves. I'll just have to enjoy it via your great photos.

  2. OOOh that looks very appetizing! I will have to try this one out. Almonds and cashews sounds very intriguing. Last Sunday I made some fish cooked in Banana leaf along with some coconut rice. Well I made a sauce with minced onions, garlic, ginger, chilli pepper, curry powder and some tom yum sauce I found in the Asian food store. I placed a blob of butter on white fish steaks that was marinated for a bout 10 mins in salt lime and black pepper before wrapping it. I then grilled it briefly on the stove top on a griddle then I place it under the grill in the oven. It was to die for! I agree with you the that the food tastes far better. I have to go find some of the ingredients for your other fish recipes you've posted. The key lime pie has finished and I have orders to do another one soon. You are adventurous like me when it comes to cooking. Pity we live so far away or else I will have you and hubby coming over to dinner! Thank you Urban green! My compliments to the chef!

  3. This sounds and looks so good! It's so pretty looking on the plate too. I'm not a big cook, but my husband is. I'm going to see if we can try this sometime.

  4. What a delicious sounding recipe. I did not realize the benefits of steaming in the banana leaf. Thank you and have a great weekend.

  5. Mmmm, that makes me hungry! I have cooked in Banana leaves and cabbage leaves, as well. Both are nice for keeping your food moist.

  6. After a long time, I don't seem to have a problem with the comment section today! Oooh, I love ilish!! This is my favourite fish recipe. I love the series of tempting! A variation I make is to wrap them in pumpkin leaves sometimes. But of course, nothing can beat the scent of the banana leaves. That's unique! Lovely post!

  7. If I take several leaves from my banana tree which grows in a pot, nothing will be left... I guess, I'll just enjoy your pictures. Sorry it took so long to answer your question about the flowers in my Hawaiian post, but here it is: the first plant is Tillandsia cyanea, the other two wait for me to do an additional research.

  8. Even we do have the practice of making fish in banana leaves and some place it on the red hot coal also directly.Please look at my blog,celebrationsdecor for diwali posts too.

  9. What clear and concise photos and instructions! The use of the banana leaf, thanks for the tip about heating it to soften, for steaming makes the whole dish so natural and healthful. Wonder if my neighbor would space a leaf or two from his tree? :-)

  10. Please invite me for dinner! yum yum!! I am sure this recipe is a delicious one. Oh thank you for info on raw papaya used to prepare kebabs. I didn't know that.

  11. A timely post since I've been working with my banana leaves lately. I will try this out as I have fish in the freezer too. What type of flavor do the banana leaves give to the fish? I am not sure when I'll try it out but in the next few weeks hopefully and I'll be sure to let you know. P.S. I've been making banana leaf concrete castings with my leaves before the freezes take them all.

  12. Yum! Sounds so good. Too bad there aren't many banana leaves here though in NY

  13. @Mary: Sigh! You don't have banana leaves around. You could try this with lemon grass in case that's available and you like the aroma.

    @Helen, my recipe friend: How I wish we could meet, and share more recipes! Thanks for sharing yours, I'm going to try it soon. :)

    @Catherine: Wow! Do let me know how it turned out...

    @Evelyn: COME OVER! *Urban Green e-nudges Evelyn*

    @Mildred: Now you have it. Do try!!!

    @Morning Glories: Cabbage - that's going to be interesting. Let me try something and let you know. Thanks for stopping by.

    @Kanak: Did you have a problem logging into my comment section?
    Pumpkin leaves...I just didn't know that. Amazing!

    @Tatyana: Aw! Maybe you could have more banana plants and therefore enjoy the benefits? thanks for the names of the flowers :)

    @Lakshmi: The grill is a great idea. I'll come right back to your blog for the special tips. See me there, soon.

    @Keats: Sure. Do come by to tell me how it went.

    @Frances: Thanks for stopping by. I love steamed food, it's a delight. Re neighbor, maybe you should tell him/her about the recipe and that they'd get one if they spared a few banana leaves...:)

    @Stephanie: *Urban Green expecting Stephanie and her family for dinner today*

    @Tina: Try a little, and you'd know. It's aromatic, and refreshing. Leaf castings - wow! I'm going right back to your blog and search for a post on that one.

    @Teresa: Sigh! Sigh! Kanak suggested pumpkin leaves. Is that possible?


Thanks for stopping by.