Banana Leaf-Grilled Fish with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

In this recipe, banana leaves impart a subtly sweet and grassy aroma to fish while also keeping the delicate fillets from sticking to the grill. Look for banana leaves in Latin American and Asian markets, where they are sometimes sold fresh and can usually be found frozen as well. Serve the fish alongside steamed rice for soaking up the rich, fragrant sauce.


  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) coconut milk
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) fresh mint leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 white fish fillets, such as halibut or cod, about 6 oz. (185 g) each
  • Vegetable oil for brushing
  • 6 large fresh or thawed frozen banana leaves


Prepare a hot fire in a grill.

In blender or food processor, combine the coconut milk, lime juice, cilantro, mint, garlic, ginger, jalapeño and honey. Puree until thoroughly combined and fairly smooth. Season with salt to taste and set aside.

Brush each of the fish fillets lightly with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Place 1 fish fillet in the center of a banana leaf.  Fold the bottom edge of the leaf over the fish, fold in the sides over the fish, and then fold the package away from you to enclose the fish in the leaf. Using kitchen twine, tie the packet closed. Repeat with the remaining fillets and banana leaves.

Arrange the banana leaf packets on the grill over direct heat and grill, turning once, until the tip of a paring knife can be inserted into the fish without any resistance, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the banana leaf packets to individual plates and carefully open them. Serve immediately, passing the coconut-cilantro sauce alongside. Serves 6.

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