Thai Baked Fish in Banana Leaf Recipe

A trout in banana leaf with rice. Klaus Arras/ StockFood Creative/ Getty Images
    35 mins
Ratings (10)

You'll love this tender and wonderful-tasting Thai baked fish. Slathered in a fragrant coconut sauce, the fillet is then wrapped in banana leaves (or tin foil/parchment paper) and baked in the oven.​

Coconut rice makes an excellent optional accompaniment, or serve with ​plain rice or potatoes. Nearly any type of fish will work in this recipe, including salmon, red snapper, cod, tilapia, sole, and others. This is an easy and healthy fish recipe that's also fun to make and the taste is truly gourmet.

What You'll Need

  • For the Coconut Marinade/Sauce:
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger), sliced
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons ​fish sauce
  • 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, central vein removed and snipped into slivers with scissors, OR 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 fresh red chili, sliced, OR 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • For the Fish:
  • 2 to 3 fillets of salmon, red snapper, cod, or other fish, preferably fresh, but frozen will work too
  • 1 package banana leaves (if frozen, thaw for at least 1/2 hour) OR 2 to 4 sheets parchment paper, OR tin foil

How to Make It

Make the Coconut Marinade/Sauce

  1. In a food processor or blender, place shallot, garlic, galangal, coriander, basil, fish sauce, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, sliced red chili, chili powder, and lime juice.
  2. Process until well combined.

Marinate and Bake the Fish

  1. Place fish fillets in a large bowl and add 1/2 the marinade. Reserve the rest for later.
  2. Slather the coconut marinade over both sides of the fish, then let it sit in the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes. 
  1. When fish is done marinating, spread a banana leaf approximately 1 foot square on a working surface (you will have to cut the leaf) or the equivalent size of parchment paper or tin foil. Place one fillet in the center of the leaf/paper/foil.
  2. Fold both sides of the wrapping material over the fish, then fold both ends to create a square "packet." Turn it seam-side down to keep sides from opening (unless using foil, which will stay by itself). Do the same for the other fillets.
  3. Place packets in a glass casserole dish or pie plate (to catch the drippings in case packets leak) and bake for 15 minutes at 350 F, or longer depending on the thickness of the fillets.
  4. After 15 minutes, open one of the packets. Insert a fork into the center of the fillet or steak (the thickest part) and gently pull back. If inside flesh is opaque and no longer transparent, the fish is cooked. If not, return to oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve the Fish

  1. Over low heat, warm up the reserved curry sauce/marinade.
  2. To serve the fish, scoop several spoonfuls of white rice onto the side of the fish (right on the banana leaf, if using). Spoon some coconut sauce (marinade) over the fish, then add a sprinkling of basil and/or coriander leaves.
  3. Serve with easy  Thai coconut rice and a chilled white or blush wine or a cold lager.