Summer time is the perfect time to take advantage of Thai-style grilling and fish is always a favourite of Thais. Wild caught fish is preferred for this dish for big flavours! If making this recipe for a crowd I suggest using boneless fillets for safe and easy eating by children. You will probably cut back on the curry in children’s parcels.
Skewers of fresh summer fruits like mango, papaya, pineapple and melons is the perfect side for fresh fish.
Red Curry Fish Cooked in Banana Leaves
(Krung Kaeng Phed Pla bai Dtaawng)
2 Salmon, Cod, or Halibut fillets (4-6 ounces each)*
1 banana leaf cut in half
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp galangal (kha), minced (optional)
2 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp Thai curry powder
2 Kaffir lime leaves slivered (bai magroot)
1/2 tsp date palm or light brown sugar
2 tsp fish sauce (Nam Pla)
1 tbls lime juice (1 large lime)
*fish steaks can be used of any firm fresh fish
This fish can be baked at 425 deg F or placed on the grill over medium high heat. I usually offset to grill fish in this method.
Place each fish fillet on the center of each half of banana leaf.
Combine the rest of the ingredients (garlic, ginger, galangal and curry powder if using, curry paste, sugar, and fish sauce) in a small bowl. Smear the mixture over the fish. Squeeze the lime juice evenly over the fillets.
Wrap the fish up much like a gift package folding in one side then the other, tucking ends under to securely wrap up the fish tightly.
Place the parcels on a cookie sheet seam side down or on a preheated grill. Bake for 15 minutes or grill about 10 minutes.
The banana leaves will begin to brown when they are ready. This gives the fish a lovely smokiness flavor.
arnish Chile Flowers and Thai Basil leaves
Serve with fresh lime wedges and steamed jasmine rice (Thai Hom Mali). You can garnish with chile flowers for a nice Thai presentation.
To make chile flowers: Hold Thai Dragon Chiles by the stem, slit into quarters with a sharp knife leaving top of chile attached at the stem. Place these in ice cold water for 20 minutes. The sections will curl up like a flower. If using larger chiles such as serranos you can slit the chiles into sixths.
Galangal is a wonderful rhizome related to ginger that is popular in Thai cooking. It is often found fresh in Asian markets, but also in the frozen section in Asian markets. Galangal is a wonderful fragrant addition to Thai recipes. Raw galangal has an almost perfumey sweet fragrance, Although galangal is related to ginger it is a little spicer and a great compliment to ginger. I often use slices of fresh galangal in curries.
Fish Sauce (nam pla) buy good brand such as Golden Boy and if older than 6 months just toss it out and buy a new bottle as it become dark in colour, salty and rather unpleasant in flavour and aroma!