Black Cod Steamed in Banana Leaves with Thai Marinade

POSTED: March 9, 2012

This recipe reminds me of one of my favorite Thai dishes growing up in Bangkok, the Hor Mok. While Hor Mok requires blending fish filets with a coconut curry paste and eggs to steam in banana leaf baskets (slightly hands on), this recipe is easier and yields a deliciously creamy fish with the sweet taste of banana leaves. I like to serve it with Thai rice and fresh limes and if it were up to my husband, Thai chili peppers would be there too. When my girls got to the dinner table, they gave me the what’s-that-weird-green-thing-on-my-fish look. What can I say, it’s bright green! Did they like it? Said my 6-year old to my 8-year old: “If you eat the marinade alone it’s yucky but if you eat it with the fish, it’s really good.” Not sure what to make of it but I, for one, enjoyed it very much.

Prep Time: 20 minutes (you can prep ahead and reserve the fish in the fridge half a day)

Steam Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 adult and 2 kids or 2 adults.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fillet black cod (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 1 package banana leaves (they usually come frozen in Thai grocery stores. You can open the packet, remove only 1 leaf and put the rest back in the freezer for later use)
  • Wooden toothpicks
  • Steaming baskets or steamer big enough to accommodate the size of the fillet

Thai Coconut marinade:

  • 1 spring onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cut fresh coriander leaves
  • handful of Thai basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons non-sweetened coconut milk
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves

Preparation:

  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor and puree.
  2. Place banana leaf in overlapping layers so there won’t be any holes and lay the fish fillet on top in the middle. Lather the marinade on top.
  3. Now the tricky part. With the help of wooden toothpicks, fold and “pin” the banana leaves over the fish so you create a closed packet (think of it as a tent). Never mind the shape as long as the fish can steam inside without drying out.
  4. You can steam right away or let it sit in the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. When the fish is ready, bring water to a low boil in a steamer and steam at low heat over water during 20 minutes or until the fish comes apart easily with a fork and the flesh is solid white (open the packet and check before you stop the steaming process).
  6. To serve the fish, scoop rice onto the side of the fish and season with Thai soy sauce and fresh lime.
  7. Enjoy!

Note: If my pantry was better stocked, I would have added a stalk of lemongrass to the blender mix. It would have been a perfect addition.

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