Banana leaves have been used in Indian cuisine for thousands of years. Smearing chutney on a fresh piece of a white flaky fish, then wrapping it in a banana leaf and baking/grilling it provides a unique flavor to this dish. In the Indian holistic science of traditional medicine - Ayurveda, the essential oils from the banana leaf have been known to have digestive properties.
You can use banana leaf or a mustard leaf for this recipe. Usually, I will make a mustard paste, apply it on salmon, and wrap it in a mustard leaf and cook it. However, in this recipe, I am using my mom's tomato chutney on the fish, so I am using a banana leaf.
This is a healthy, flavorful recipe, and restaurants charge a lot of money to serve this simple to make dish. I hope you enjoy it. If, for some reason, you cannot find a banana leaf (always available at your local Latin stores), you can use parchment paper.
1 cup tomato chutney (see my recipe)
2, 4 oz fillets of fresh Cod, or any other white flaky fish
1 banana leaf
- Carefully rinse banana leaf under cold running water. Using a pair of shears, cut out the thick center vein of the leaf. Now, you will have 2 half leaves. Fold each half vertically, half, and cut it from the center. You should have 4 similar size leaves. We will use 2 pieces in this recipe, and you can refrigerate the remaining 2 pieces for later use.
- Preheat an iron skillet on your stovetop OR Pre-heat the oven at 350 F.
- Place one piece of the banana leaf on a cutting board. Make sure that the dark side (usually the oily side) faces you.
- Add 2 Tablespoons tomato chutney to the center of the leaf.
- Place a piece of cod. Add 2 Tablespoons tomato chutney on top of the fish, and smear the fish to be completely coated with tomato chutney.
- Wrap the fish carefully and invert the fish parcel so that the wraps face the bottom. Alternatively, you can use a string to seal the parcel.
- Repeat this process with the second leaf.
- If baking, then place both parcels on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- If you are using an iron skillet, place the parcels on the hot skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side.
- Remove, and serve.
NOTE: You can prepare the parcels beforehand and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
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