Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves

Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves

Posted by Ana Franco on


  • ½ vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 medium fish fillets (about 180 g each)
  • 3 liters of water ( optional )
  • 1 raw potato (optional )
  • 12 roasted banana leaves (or necessary )
  • 250 g of small tomato chopped 
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup peeled ginger sliced finely 


  1. Open the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the inside of the pod to remove the seeds.
  2. Chop the garlic with salt and pepper, lemon juice and vanilla seeds or vanilla extract with a pestle and mortar. Marinate the fish with this mixture for 1 or 2 hours.
  3. Another option is to marinate the fish in brine between 20 minutes and 1 hour before covering with marinade of garlic, lemon and vanilla. (Reduce or eliminate the salt in the garlic, lemon and vanilla mixture if you choose to brine first.)  To prepare the brine put 3 liters of water and a raw potato in a large bowl. Add salt, allowing for it to dissolve, until the potato floats to the top. Cover the fish fillets in the brine solution and let brine for anywhere between 20 min. and one hour. 
  4. Heat up the BBQ grill with wood or charcoal.
  5. Layer banana leaves in pairs so they are six double sheets. Place a fish fillet on each leaf with a bit of chopped tomatoes and chopped cilantro. If desired add a little sliced ginger.
  6. Wrap the fillets in the leaves like a tamale.
  7. Place on coals and cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. They are ready when you no longer hear the sizzling sound of the banana leaves.
  8. If desired, serve the fish served with avocado salad, rice with corn and refried beans.

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