Whole Morwong Barbecued in Banana Leaves

Banana leaves are a decorative and functional wrapping when barbecuing whole fish. They protect the skin from scorching and help keep the heat in so that the fish steams in its own juices, remaining moist and tasty.


2 large banana leaves 
1 x 900g Jackass Morwong, scaled, gilled and gutted
1 lime, sliced
Lime wedges, to serve
Wooden toothpicks or kitchen twine

Ginger Paste
3cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
1 tablespoon chopped coriander root 
2 small red chillies, seeded and roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
3 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ cup coconut cream
1 teaspoon salt flakes

Tomato & Onion Salad
3 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
⅓ cup coriander leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat a barbecue or large char-grill plate. 

Make Tomato & Onion Salad: combine all ingredients. Cover and chill.

Make Ginger Paste: place the ginger, onion, garlic, coriander root, chillies, turmeric, cumin, coconut cream and salt in a blender and puree until it forms a smooth paste. 

Rinse the belly cavity of the fish, rub away any black lining and pat dry with paper towel. Cut several deep slashes into the thickest part of both sides of the fish. 

Blanch banana leaves in boiling water for a few seconds, refresh under cold water, pat dry and lay out on a work surface, shiny side down, overlapping slightly. Place the fish in the centre and spread Ginger Paste all over ensuring the slashes are filled and the fish is covered. Arrange the lime slices in the belly cavity and wrap the fish in the banana leaves securing with toothpicks or kitchen twine. 

Cook the fish for 10 minutes on one side, turn and cook for a further 6-8 minutes, until the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork. 

Place fish on a serving platter, undo the banana leaves and spoon the tomato and onion salad over the top, serve immediately with lime wedges. 

Alternative species:

Blue Warehou, Goldband Snapper, Grey Morwong, Silver Warehou, Snapper or any of the Bream species.

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