Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Red Snapper Wrapped in Banana Leaves With Balinese Spice Paste (Be Pesan)

The banana leaves add unique and fragrant flavor to this Balinese style fish, if you don't know where Bali is, check here. You probably think it is a spicy dish, it is only appear that way, the bumbu is pretty mild, but being me, I like to add whole, or chili slices to it. When you add whole chili as a garnish, the result won't be spicy at all, only if you bite to it, then you'll be in trouble. The most common way to make this fish is to steam it, then grilled quickly over hot glowing charcoal. Since I don't really have steamer large enough to accommodate the fish, I bake them in the oven, then lightly grilled. You can use steamer if you wish, also you can omit the grilling process as well.

Red Snapper Wrapped In Banana Leaves (Be Pesan)

2 whole (about 3 pounds) red snapper
lime juice from 1 lime
3 large shallots
5 cloves garlic
2 tbs roughly chopped ginger
1 tbs coriander seeds
5 candlenuts, roughly chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, chopped
1 tsp toasted shrimp paste
2 tbs oil, just enough for frying the paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp kencur powder (zedoary powder)
10 fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 or 2 slices fresh galangga (about ¼ inch thick)
1/2 tbs fish sauce
banana leaves
1 or 2 whole mild green chilies, for each fish (optional)
bamboo tooth picks

Clean - gutted, then rinse the fish under cold running water, pat dry with paper towel. Cut a few slashes on both side, then lay them on a ceramic dish, drizzle both sides with lime juice. Cover with plastic, let sit in the refrigerator while you are making the bumbu (spice paste)

Place shallots, garlic, chopped ginger, coriander seeds, chopped candlenuts, chopped tomatoes, chopped lemongrass, and toasted shrimp paste in to a food processor, process into smooth spice paste or bumbu. Fry with oil over medium heat, add turmeric powder, kencur powder, kaffir lime leaves and fresh galangga, fry until it releases its fragrance, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and fish sauce. Stir and fry for a few second more. Take it out from the heat, cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375⁰F.

Lay 2 layers of banana leaves on a kitchen counter top, spread a little bit of bumbu, then place one fish on top, spread another bumbu directly on the fish, lay a whole green chilies or chili slices if using. Wrap and secure both end with tooth picks. Do the same process with the other fish. Transfer the wrapped fishes on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until both fish are done. If you wish, you can grill them still wrapped over hot glowing charcoal, or on your gas grill over medium high for about 3 minutes on each side. Serve with steam rice and simple saute vegetable, fresh lemon basil and tomato sambal if you wish.

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