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Banana Leaf Grilled/Baked Barramundi

Barramundi is one of Australia's most delicious fish and not far from us, adjacent to the Daintree River, is the amazing boutique Barramundi farm Daintree Saltwater Barramundi. Chef has been cooking with their Barramundi for years as it has a clean, clear taste, is sustainably sourced and very importantly, is local to us. 

This Banana Leaf Baked Barramundi was a recipe Chef created last year for Salsa Bar & Grill's participation in a Port Douglas food festival - it is so good it just has to be shared!

Banana Leaf Grilled/Baked Barramundi with som tam salad - serves 3

For the Barramundi
600 g Barramundi fillet, skin off
3 sheets of banana leaves

For the spice paste paste
2cm stick of lemongrass, peeled, chopped
30 g ginger, peeled and sliced
30 g turmeric, peeled and sliced
6 g cumin, ground
15 g garlic cloves, crushed
3 coriander roots, washed and chopped
35 g sweet chilli sauce
4 kafir lime leaves
1 small banana shallot, peeled and sliced
20 ml lime juice
12 g sea salt

For the som tam salad
100 g green paw paw, julienned thinly on mandoline
30 g bean shoots
1/2 chilli long red , thinly sliced (use the other half in dressing
1 stalk of spring onions, thinly sliced
2 sprigs thai basil , picked
2 sprigs coriander , picked
6 snake or green beans, sliced in 1 cm rondels
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered

For the dressing
10 g dried prawns, rinsed and drained
30 ml lime juice
20 ml fish sauce
30 g palm sugar
10 g ginger, peeled and sliced
5 g garlic, peeled and sliced
20 ml tamarind water
Pinch of salt

To garnish
30 g fried shallots
30 g peanuts roasted , salted
20 g puffed rice

To make paste, using a pestle and mortar, add all ingredients and pound until a paste forms. Alternatively use a food processor.
For the barramundi fillet, wash banana leaves and run over grill or flame or steam to make it pliable.
Smear fish on each side with paste, then roll the fish fillet in the leaf, and fold over at the end to make a parcel.
Place parcel onto heated grill or BBQ and cook, over medium heat, about 30 minutes or until fish is cooked as desired, turning halfway through cooking time. Alternatively bake in oven on 190°C for about 30 minutes.
For the dressing , using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and ginger with the salt then add the peanuts and dried prawns and pound to a coarse paste. Then add chilli and pound some more. Add all other ingredients and reserve until serving.
For the salad, toss the salad ingredients with the dressing and sprinkle with some more roasted peanuts and fried shallots.
To serve, open banana leaf parcel, and add on the som tam salad on top, sprinkle wit puffed rice and garnish with lime wedges.

A 700 - 800 g baby barramundi could also be used for this recipe if preferred.
You can also serve with jasmine rice and the som tam salad on side.