This fish is stuffed with herbs that give it a delicious taste and great aromas. The saltiness comes from the fish sauce and the sourness comes from the lime juice.
This is a simple recipe that goes well with a dipping sauce and a nice bowl of Jasmine rice.
- 4 small whole red snappers or red emperors, cleaned and scaled
- 2 large banana leaves
- 4 fresh small red Thai chillies, sliced thinly
- 4 fresh Kaffir lime leaves, shredded finely
- 4 spring onions, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
- 4 sticks fresh lemon grass
Ingredients for the Lime Sweet Chilli Dressing
- 1 cup sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Method for the Lime and Sweet Chilli Dressing
- Place all the ingredients in a screw-top-jar and shake well. Set aside until needed.
Method for the Fish
- Score the fish on both sides through the thickest part of flesh.
- Place the fish on a large tray.
- Drizzle with half of the dressing on both sides of the fish and rub the sauce in well with your hands.
- Cover and refrigerate the fish over night, or at least for 1 hour.
Method for the Banana Leaf
- Meanwhile, trim the banana leaves into four 30cm squares ( depending on the size of the fish). Using a tong, dip one square at a time into a large sauce pan of boiling water, remove immediately.
- Rinse under cold water, pat dry with absorbent paper.
- Put the banana leaves on a work surface.
- Combine the chilli, Kaffir lime leaves, onion, coriander and basil in a medium bowl.
- Half the lemongrass sticks lengthways, then halve crossways; you will need sixteen pieces.
- Place four pieces of cut lemon grass on each leaf square and place one fish on each.
- Top the fish with equal amounts of the herb mixture.
- Fold opposite corners of the leaf to enclose the centre part of the fish.
- Secure each parcel with a cotton string.
- Place the parcel in a single layer on a roasting pan lined with oven paper.
- Bake the fish for 20 to 30 minutes at 160C, depending on the size of the fish, or until the fish is cooked through.
- Serve the fish still in the parcels, drizzled with the remaining dressing.
- Marinating the fish well is very important.
- The marinating sauce can also be used as the dipping sauce.
- Do not over cook the fish. It has to be tender and moist.
- I have also cooked this fish on the BBQ and it is also delicious.