- 1½ lbs. whole red snapper, porgy,
sea bass, or similar fish (or a 1½ lbs. chunk)
- 6 candlenuts (kemiri)
- a ½-inch piece of fresh ginger,
- ½ tsp. salt
- 10 shallots, sliced
- 4 scallions, sliced
- ½ cup sliced ripe tomato
- 4 or 5 semi-hot red chilies, seeded
- 1 cup basil leaves (optional)
- 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
- a 14-inch square piece of banana
- Open the fish's abdomen with a
3-inch incision, remove the innards, cleaning well, and reserve the roe (if any).
Cut off the fins and tail and remove gills.
- In a food processor or using a
mortar and a pestle, chop the nuts, then blend in the ginger, salt, shallots, scallions,
tomato, chilies, and basil leaves (if used) to form a coarse paste. Mix in the oil.
- Stuff the fish with 1/3 of the paste
and the roe (if used). Spread half of the remaining paste on the banana leaf square,
lay fish over the paste, and cover it with the remaining paste. Wrap the fish and
use wooden skewers to close both ends of the banana leaf square.
- Steam over hot water in a
Chinese-style steamer for 30 minutes. Then grill the package over glowing coals for
10 minutes. This is done to infuse the fish with a smoky flavor. Serve warm.
Makes 4-6 servings.