Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen
Season 3 in High Definition
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Primal Grill is filmed at Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico.
Episode: 307 :: Asia's Crossroads
Malaysian Swordfish in Banana Leaves
Method: Direct Grilling
30 minutes for preparing the spice paste (it can also be made several hours ahead).
Category: Seafood
For the spice paste:

8 macadamia nuts (or candlenuts), rough chopped
A 5-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and rough chopped (or 2-1/2 inches fresh ginger and 2-1/2 inches fresh galangal)
4 shallots, peeled and rough chopped
4 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
4 Thai, serrano, or jalapeno chiles, seeded and rough chopped (for spicier fish, leave the seeds in)
2 teaspoon powdered turmeric (or 1-inch fresh turmeric)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or soy sauce
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce or soy sauce

4 six- to eight-ounce swordfish or halibut steaks
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

4 rectangular pieces of banana leaf, each about 10 by 12 inches (or substitute foil)

Make the spice paste: Place the macadamia nuts, ginger, shallots, garlic, chiles, turmeric, and black pepper in a food processor and grind to a fine paste, running the machine in short bursts. (You can also pound the ingredients to a paste in a heavy mortar with a pestle.) Work in fish sauce or soy sauce.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp paste (if using) and fry for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high, add the spice paste, and fry it until dark and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Transfer the spice paste to a plate or bowl and let cool to room temperature. Using a spoon or spatula, thickly spread each piece of fish on both sides with spice paste.

Lay a banana leaf square, dark side down, on your work surface. Place a piece of fish in the center. Fold over one side, then the other, to encase the fish. Then pin each end with a toothpick to seal the package. Each package will be about 6 inches by 4 inches. The fish packages can be prepared several hours ahead and refrigerated until grilling.

Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

Arrange the banana leaf packages, smooth side down, and grill until nicely browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the packages over and grill the same way-total cooking time should be 8 to 10 minutes. To test for done-ness, insert a metal skewer through the side of one packet and leave it for 15 seconds: it should come out very hot to the touch.

Serve the fish in the banana leaf. Let each eater open his own package.

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