Steamed Sea Bass in Banana Leaf with Coconut-Mint Chutney

Ingredients (16)

For the chutney:

  • 1/2 cup grated coconut, fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste (see page 27 of the cookbook)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Thai green chili
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, including stems
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the fish:

  • 4 sea bass fillets (3 1/2 to 4 ounces each), skinned and pin bones removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 banana leaves, roughly 9 inches square
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
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Nutritional Information
  • Calories520
  • Fat34.64g
  • Saturated fat6.87g
  • Trans fat0.11g
  • Carbs34.5g
  • Fiber4.96g
  • Sugar18.83g
  • Protein21.76g
  • Cholesterol43.59mg
  • Sodium661.22mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (4 servings) Powered by

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Steamed Sea Bass in Banana Leaf with Coconut-Mint Chutney

An elegant but vibrant dish from Rasika, this sea bass is steamed in banana leaves to help it stay moist, and sparked with a brilliant green chutney that is sour, sweet, fresh, and spicy from ginger, garlic, green chile, mint, cilantro, and grated coconut. Any leftover chutney is great as a dipping sauce or sandwich spread, and if you can’t find sea bass, you can use flounder, sole, skate, or any thin white fillet instead. The banana leaves can be found at Asian or Latin grocery stores. You’ll want to trim them into roughly 9-inch square portions, but check the exact size against your longest fish fillet. The square of leaf should be large enough to wholly enclose the fish when folded in half, with a 1-inch border to ensure the chutney doesn’t ooze out.

For more Rasika recipes, try this Crispy Fried Spinach with Tomato, Onion, Tamarind, and Yogurt recipe and this Indian Spiced Sautéed Mushrooms and Green Onions recipe.

And for more ways to serve sea bass, get our Whole Grilled Bass with Olives, Onion, and Artichoke recipe, and our Roasted Fish with Thai Pesto recipe too.

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Flavors of India

by Ashok Bajaj, Vikram Sunderam, & David Hagedorn

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Tips for Fish


To make the chutney:
  1. 1In a NutriBullet or small blender, combine the coconut, ginger- garlic paste, green chili, cumin seeds, turmeric, and lemon juice. Blend for 3 minutes, shaking the jar or scraping it down from time to time, to make a thick, fairly smooth puree. Add the mint leaves and puree until smooth. Add the cilantro, salt, and sugar and puree until smooth.

To make the fish:

  1. 1In a medium bowl, coat the sea bass fillets with the turmeric, salt, and lemon juice.
  2. 2Microwave 2 of the banana leaves for 15 seconds to soften them and put them on a large cutting board. Lay a fish fillet on the bottom half of each leaf. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of chutney over each fillet, then flip them and spread another 11/2 tablespoons chutney on the other sides of the fillets. Fold the leaves in half over the fillets. Starting and ending at the fold, use a sharp paring knife to trim each packet, leaving a 1-inch border around the fish on three sides. Transfer the packets to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 2 banana leaves, sea bass fillets, and chutney. Refrigerate the packets for 1 hour.
  3. 3Preheat the oven to 200°F. have ready another large baking sheet.
  4. 4In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the oil over medium- high heat until it shimmers. Reduce the heat to medium and place two packets of fish in the pan side by side. Cook for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the packets to the baking sheet and put them in the oven to keep warm. Wipe the pan out with a wad of paper towels and repeat with the remaining 1/4 cup oil and two packets of fish. Serve immediately.
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