Monday, 14 July 2008

Spicy Fish baked in Banana Leaf on Sesame Street

Hi Bert!
Hi Ernie!
Yes Ernie?
Have you heard about the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jenn, The Leftover Queen?
Ummm... No Ernie.
Well Bert, it's this competition where each month 3 ingredients are chosen by the previous months winners.
Sounds interesting Ernie, but why are you telling me this?
Well Bert, this month the ingredients include Sesame
Ahhh Ernie! You're always so clever, if there's Sesame involved, then we just need to add a Street to get Sesame Street!

Well Done Bert!

Thanks Ernie!

The ingredients for this months RFJ were selected by my friend Peter M who of course won last months joust. With his choice of Seafood, Sesame and Coriander there would be no debate on whether to go savoury or sweet. I really couldn't think of anything to make that would be sweet using seafood and coriander. Then again, if you know the kind of talent that lurks around the Royal Food Joust, anything is possible!

Coriander is a spice that is easily available in Asia as is Sesame. The one thing I did learn though was that although we don’t differentiate between Coriander seeds and Coriander leaves, apparently in some parts of the world there is a difference. Coriander apparently refers to the spice from the seeds while Cilantro is what we, in Asia, call Coriander Leaves. Usually Coriander leaves are used as a garnish or sometimes diced up and thrown into a curry or soup for extra flavour.

For this joust, I decided on double usage of everything except the seafood. So I used Coriander Powder as well as Coriander Leaves and also Sesame Oil as well as Sesame Seeds. I had tossed up using prawns as well but since the wife has a slight allergy to prawns, I decided against it. This is what I did:

Spicy Fish Baked in Banana Leaf

1 kg mackerel
2 red chillies
8 dried chillies
1 large handful coriander leaves
4-5 pieces mint leaf
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp tomato sauce
Banana Leaves for wrapping

Steam the mackerel and then remove the flesh. Set aside. Grind together onions, chillies, dried chillies, coriander leaves, mint leaves, garlic and ginger with soy sauce. Heat sesame oil and lightly fry the tsp of coriander together with some black pepper. Add in the ground mixture and fry well. Add in the fish and mix well. Add in the sugar and tomato sauce with a little water. Mix well until combined. Wash and dry banana leaves. Cut into 6-8inc pieces. Place two tablespoons of fish on each leaf and roll up completely. Fold the ends over and under to form a package or use toothpicks to fasten the edges. Bake for 20 mins in a 190C oven. Garnish with Sesame Seeds before serving.

There is a similar kind of dish in Malaysia called Otak-Otak. That dish uses fish paste and a bunch of different spices as well as coconut milk before being steamed or barbecued in banana leaves. The idea to wrap the fish in Banana Leaves of course comes from Otak Otak but the ingredients are rather different!

This dish was a lot of fun to think up and to make! I just wish I had done a better job of taking out all the small bones but nonetheless it was a rather tasty dish. Now excuse me while I sing...

Sunny day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street...

How to get to Sesame Street

How to get to Sesame Street...


Bellini Valli said...

This is an amazing presentation Dharm. An excellent choice for the Joust...Bert and Ernie would approve along with the kids and The Lovely Wife:D

glamah16 said...

Brilliant. You know I love steaming in Bananna leaves.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Now that is a beautiful adult sesame street;))

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks absolutely fantastic Dharm! I just love that you cooked it in banana leaves and your filling sounds incredible! best of luck!

Once again a brilliant post! ;)

giz said...

What a creative way of using Peter's choice of ingredients. Love the presentation in the banana leaf. I'd probably have a hard time with mackerel but I can totally see it with halibut or cod too. The real question is, did you make enough for Big Bird?

breadchick said...

Dharm, I've got to try that!

kittie said...

Dharm - this is such a gorgeous entry. The banana leaves really set off your photographs and the flavours in the filling sound wonderful!


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