Parsee fish in banana leaf

Try this classic dish steaming spiced fish inside banana leaves, often served at weddings
By Cyrus Todiwala
Parsee fish in banana leaf
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1-2 limes, juice only, or lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 whole pomfret fish, central bone removed
  • 3 banana leaves
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar
  • chapattis or bread rolls, to serve

For the chutney

  • 1 coconut, grated
  • 120-160 g coriander
  • 4-5 long, slender green chillies
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 7.5 cm piece ginger, scraped and coarsely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 120 g mint

Tips and Suggestions

If banana leaves arent available, simply wrap the fish in foil. Plaice, grey mullet or any other white fish can be used in place of pomfret.
Instead of freshly grated coconut, substitute 200g finely ground desiccated coconut that you have soaked in warm water for 30-40 minutes before grinding in a blender.


1. Mix the turmeric and lime juice together with a pinch of salt and rub this mixture into the fish. Place the fish on a tray, cover and place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

2. For the chutney: grind all the chutney ingredients into a paste, adding a splash of water just enough to help the ingredients come together as a paste.

3. Spread the coconut chutney over the surface of the fish and inside the cavity. Set aside.

4. Remove the stems of the banana leaves with a sharp knife and cut them into pieces big enough to wrap each fish.

5. Soften and sterilise the banana leaves by using tongs to pass each one over an open flame to soften them. Pass them over the flame just once on each side.

6. Put each fish on a banana leaf, wrap up and tie with kitchen string to secure. Place on a baking tray.

7. Sprinkle the vinegar over the parcels and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

8. Just before serving, remove the string and serve the fish in the banana leaf with hot chapattis or crisp bread rolls.

Rate This Recipe