Baked fish with banana leaves

(VOVWORLD) - “Baked fish with banana leaves” is a traditional Vietnamese dish. The basic ingredient of fish is enhanced with various herbs and spices, including shallots, spring onion, chilli, dill, and coriander.

Baked fish with banana leaves - ảnh 1(Photo: monngonvietnam) 

Chi: Welcome to another episode of VOV 24/7’s Food Delight. I’m your host, Kim Chi.  

Today, we’ll introduce a dish with typical Vietnamese ingredients. I’m talking about “Baked fish with banana leaves”.

Chi: We welcome once again Le Thi Thu Hang, who is in charge of cooking classes for foreigners at KOTO, a non-profit social enterprise that provides vocational training to disadvantaged youths. “Baked fish with banana leaves” is a traditional Vietnamese dish she introduces to foreigners who want some hands-on experience with Vietnamese food. Let’s go into the kitchen with Thu Hang.

Hang: Today we’ll make fish with banana leaves. We use fish from the river, and shallots, and fried shallots, also, spring onion, and onion, but we need to slice it. And ginger. We slice it and after that, julien it. And chilli. We can use normal chilli or bird’s eye chilli. The chilli, just slice it. And dill, which goes well with the fish. Cut the dill 3 cm. And coriander. We cut it the same size as the dill.  

Chi: Ok, let me repeat the main ingredients: fish, of course, shallots, spring onion, ginger, chilli, dill, and coriander. And Hang has just told us the preliminary steps to prepare the dish.

Hang: Apart from fresh herbs, we also use dried seasoning for the fish. We use soya sauce, and fish sauce. If you want to make a Vietnamese dish, please use Vietnamese fish sauce.

Chi: Yes. We use fish sauce in most dishes. It’s also very common to have a small bowl of dipping fish sauce on the side. 

Hang: And oyster sauce adds color to the fish, and the taste is very good. For the oil, we use soya bean oil, but you can use any kind of oil you have at home. Don’t use any kind of oil that has a strong flavor, or else it will affect the main flavor of the dish. And sugar, and black pepper.

Chi: Wow! I guess the dish must be very spicy and fragrant with so many kinds of herbs and spices. And banana leaves also add a special flavor to the fish.

Hang: Banana leaves are very popular in Vietnam. We use banana leaves for everything. Wrapping things in banana leaves is good for the environment. It also adds a good flavor. Now, cut the fish, and take out the bones and the skin. Cut the fish, about 50 grams for one piece. With the shallot, just slice the shallot. The spring onion, just cut about 3 cm. The same with the dill and coriander. The onion with thin slices and julienned ginger, and chilli. Add all the seasonings, the soya sauce, the fish sauce, the oyster sauce, the sugar, black pepper, and oil. Then, mix all the ingredients together.

Chi: I’m wondering whether the fish is cooked with the banana leaves, or cooked first, then wrapped in banana leaves?

Hang: The banana leaves we need to steam in a steamer for 1 minute until the leaves turn soft. Or you can put them in the oven. Make sure when you wrap the fish, the banana leaves don’t break. If they break, when you grill or bake the fish over charcoal, all the fish will fall out. Put the fish inside the banana leaves. Put any seasoning or herbs on top of the banana leaves. After that, we fold it. Then, we bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 180oC. Or you can grill it over charcoal.

Chi: It’s better to grill the fish over charcoal because it comes out more fragrant, but it’s more convenient to use the oven. It’s up to you.

Hang: When you finish cooking the fish, in Vietnam we always eat the fish with steamed rice. Place the rice on the plate, and then add the baked fish and banana leaves.

Chi: Or you can have baked fish with vermicelli and serve it with soya sauce. Thanks Thu Hang for joining us today. Enjoy your baked fish with banana leaves.