COMPLIMENTARY RECIPE: BARRAMUNDI STEAMED IN BANANA LEAF WITH SOY BEANS

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"Wrapping food in banana leaves for cooking imparts great aroma and flavour to the dish itself. If you can’t get hold of fresh banana leaves, use lotus leaves here, or even baking paper as a last resort. Be sure that your water is rapidly boiling before steaming your fish, as you want the fish to cook quickly and hold its texture." - Chef Luke Nguyen

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

20g dried glass noodles
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salted soya beans
300g boneless barramundi or other firm white fish fillet, cut into 4 pieces
2 pieces banana leaf, each measuring about 20cm x 25cm
1 long red chilli, julienned, plus extra to serve
1 tablespoon garlic oil
soy sauce, for dipping

METHOD

Put the noodles in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak for 20 minutes. Drain and cut into 4 cm lengths.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the soya beans and stir them through. Add the fish to the bowl and turn the pieces to coat with this mixture. Set aside.

Run the banana leaves through an open flame a few times, or place on a medium heated grill, until they darken and become pliable — about 10 seconds on a naked flame, or 30 seconds on a grill.

Place two fish portions in the centre of each banana leaf. Top each with half the noodles and chilli, and drizzle each with half the garlic oil. Fold up the sides to form a parcel and fold the leaf over the fish and noodles.

Half-fill a steamer, wok or large saucepan with water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Cover and steam the parcels for 7–10 minutes.

Carefully remove the parcels from the steamer. Serve with steamed jasmine rice, and a small bowl of soy sauce and sliced red chilli for dipping.

Recipe from Luke's Book -The Food of Vietnam. Click here to purchase the book now.

Phuong Nguyen