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Grilled Fish with Plantain and Coconut Salsa in Banana Leaves

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Grilled Fish with Plantain and Coconut Salsa in Banana Leaves

Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves with Plantain and Coconut Salsa

Marian Blazes
Wrapping fish in banana leaves and cooking it over a fire is an ancient technique, and versions of this recipe can be found in most tropical countries with a coast. It just makes sense - the leaves keep tender pieces of fish from falling apart, as well as help steam in the flavor. This is such an easy way to cook fish - it will work for any kind of fish and you can season it however you like. The banana leaves do impart a distinctive flavor - if it's not to your liking, try wrapping the fish in corn husks.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.


  • 2 very ripe plantains
  • 4 medium fish fillets
  • 4 large banana leaves
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 medium bunch cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chile pepper paste, or 1 small chile pepper, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dried coconut
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Thaw the banana leaves (if frozen).

  2. Peel the plantains (see How to Peel a Plantain) and slice them in half lengthwise, then slice each long piece in half.

  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet and fry plantains until caramel brown on each side, pressing on them with a spatula to flatten them slightly as they fry. Remove to a plate and let cool.

  4. Make coconut salsa: Place coconut milk, cilantro, lime juice, chile pepper paste, ginger, and coconut in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Lay a banana leaf flat on the counter. Place two pieces of plantain on the leaf, then place a fish fillet on top of the plantain. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the coconut salsa on top of the fish, then wrap the fish up snugly in the banana leaf. Repeat with remaining fish fillets. Fillets will keep this way in the refrigerator for several hours if needed.

  6. Prepare the grill. Cook fish packets over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, then turn over for 5 minutes more. Open one packet to check for doneness, and return to grill if needed.

  7. Unwrap fish and serve warm.

User Reviews

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 4 out of 5
Fun fish in banana leaves, Member lalacop

We tried this charming recipe with chilean sea bass sliced into 1/2-inch slices and also with red snapper when we were prepping for a wine dinner with a South American theme. We liked it a lot, however, the second time we added more lime and chilis and salt and pepper to the salsa to boost the flavor. We also made a garnish of toasted coconut (1/4 C) and lime zest (1-2 limes) added to the plated fish - lovely! Be sure to use very ripe plantains. Do not overcook the fish.

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