Coriander and Coconut Fish Parcels with Peppery Hot Cabbage Salad

Anjum Anan's sensational recipe for fish baked in a spicy coconut paste is served with a tasty piquant salad
By Anjum Anand
Coriander and Coconut Fish Parcels with Peppery Hot Cabbage Salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 30 mins marinating
  • Effort: medium


For the fish parcels

  • 1 lemon
  • 2x150 g firm white fish fillets, (e.g. halibut)
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 banana leaves, softened in a little water or 2 large squares of foil

For the paste

  • 2 largecloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 50 g coriander, leaves and stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 green chilli, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

For the peppery hot cabbage salad

  • 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • small pinch asafoetida
  • 3/4 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 3/4 tsp nigella seeds
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 small dried whole red chillies, (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

2. Cut the lemon in half. Thinly slice one half of the lemon and squeeze the juice from the other half.

3. Marinate the fish in 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and a good sprinkling of salt. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.

4. To make the paste; blend the ingredients together using a food processor or pestle and mortar to form a coarse purée.

5. Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper.

6. Spread a thick coating of the paste on only one side of each fillet.

7. Lay 2 lemon slices on each leaf or foil square and place the fish on top, paste side up.

8. Grind a little extra black pepper over the fillets and drizzle with oil.

9. Enclose in the leaves, securing with toothpicks or string, or seal in the foil by bringing up the edges and crimping together so that the parcels are airtight but loose.

10. Bake for 10 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets. Trickle over a little of the remaining lemon juice and serve hot.

11. To make the peppery hot cabbage salad; heat the oil in a large non-stick pan.

12. Add the asafoetida, mustard seeds, and nigella (onion) seeds) and fry for 30 seconds.

13. Add the curry leaves, chillies (if using), lentils and peanuts. Reduce the heat and fry for 30 seconds.

14. Add the white cabbage and salt to taste, and stir fry for 10 minutes. The cabbage should be wilted, yet retain some bite.

15. Serve the fish parcels with the peppery hot cabbage salad.

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