Banana leaf grilled mackerel

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

If you can’t get banana leaves, wrap the fish parcel in foil instead. Eat with rice. Fail-safe barbecuable food.


  • small handful of rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 tbsp dried black Chinese mushrooms (optional)
  • 250 g skinned and boned mackerel (or tuna fillet), cut into very small chunks
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • salt and black pepper
  • pinch of ground chilli
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ deribbed banana leaf, cut into 4 large squares
  • handful each of mint and basil leaves


Soak the noodles and mushrooms (if using) in cold water until just soft - about 10 minutes - then drain. Finely shred the mushrooms and roughly chop the noodles. Toss the chopped fish flesh with the fish sauce, salt, pepper, chilli, turmeric and sugar, then toss through the garlic, onions and oil. Fold through the prepared mushrooms and noodle. Place the mixture in the middle of a large square of banana leaf, then fold in the sides and wrap into a neat flat-looking square parcel. Lay this in the middle of a second piece of banana leaf and wrap up again. Repeat with the remaining leaves, to make a neat package. Grill the package over hot charcoal for about 6 minutes on each side; alternatively steam for about 10 minutes. Serve the contents of the parcel over steam-boiled rice and mound with herbs. Have dipping sauce at the ready.