Ginger scented monkfish wrapped in banana leaves

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I first tried this in the restaurant I worked in and it became a favorite on the menu. It is very simple and don’t be afraid to try this at home. Note that the marination makes it taste a lot better and is well worth the extra effort.



  • 2 Tblsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tblsp minced garlic
  • 1 shallot (about 2” in size), minced
  • 2 Tblsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tblsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp corn oil


  • 1.5 lbs Monkfish (divided into 4 portions)*
  • 4 large banana leaves (8” to 12” in length)*
  • 2 Tbl seasame oil (approx.)
  • One 14 oz. can of coconut milk (unsweetened)*
  • 2 fresh red chillies cut into fine strips (divide into 4 equal portions)
  • 2 heaping Tblsp of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced (divide into 4 equal portions)
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass, finely minced (divide into 4 equal portions)*
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced (divide into 4 equal portions)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves (2 per portion)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves (divide into 4 equal portions)
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes (divide zest in 4 equal portions)
  • 4 rosemary sprigs


  • Shallow baking dish
  • Baking tray
  • Pan for boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. Bring water in pan on top of stove to a boil.
  3. Zest and juice the limes
  4. Combine Marinade in shallow baking dish. Placed portioned fish in marinade and turn to coat.
  5. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
  6. If using fresh banana leaves, dip them in boiling water for 3-5 seconds to soften. Remove and wipe dry.
  7. Place Leaves shiny side down on work surface.
  8. Rub leaves with a little of the sesame oil to coat facing surface.
  9. Assemble each leaf: Sprinkle a little coconut milk over leaf.
  10. Add chillies, ginger, minced lemon grass, minced garlic, and cilantro in center of leaf.
  11. Remove a portion of fish from marinade and place on top of ingredients. Top with la little lime juice, zest, and 2 basil leaves.
  12. Fold in sides of leave over fish and then fold ends over to meet in middle. Fasten/skewer flaps with a sprig of rosemary.
  13. Continue assembly until each portion is completed. Discard marinade.
  14. Place the “packets” on baking tray and place into preheated oven.
  15. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  16. Serve

What you should know

If Monkfish (preferred) is not available you can substitute sea bass, red snapper, or cod.

This dish versatile. I have the recipe for baking in the oven, but of you choose you can steam it or grill it. Because of the banana leaves it basically steams itself no mater how you cook it.

You should always remove coconut milk from can and whisk liquid and solids until it is uniformly blended.

If you cannot find fresh banana leaves (found in asian or central american markets), you might be able to find them in the frozen food section. If you use the frozen leaves, you do not need to boil them just let them thaw and use.

To prepare lemon grass, strip away fiborous outer layers and mince.

If you cannot find lemon grass in a pinch, 1 tsp fresh lemon zest = 1 stalk

Re: Ginger scented monkfish wrapped in banana leaves

I gave this 4 stars instead of 5. This dish is tasty but it took me a while to get it right. Leave an hour or so the first time you make this. With practice I bet I will get faster.

Re: Ginger scented monkfish wrapped in banana leaves

Same problem. This recipe takes some patience. But once I figured it out it got easier. I will make this again

Re: Ginger scented monkfish wrapped in banana leaves

Thanks for the heads up. I love monkfish and will leave plenty of time to learn how to make this recipe properly. Now I have to find banana leaves. Any suggestions?

Re: Ginger scented monkfish wrapped in banana leaves