Fish in Banana-Leaf Recipe from Democratic Republic of Congo

Fish in Banana-Leaf

Fish in Banana-Leaf Recipe from Democratic Republic of Congo
Region / culture: Democratic Republic of Congo | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Fish in Banana-Leaf
Fish in Banana-Leaf

Fish in banana leaf is a traditional dish that is popular in many tropical regions around the world. The fish is marinated in a flavorful mixture of spices and then wrapped in banana leaves before being cooked. This method of cooking helps to infuse the fish with the flavors of the marinade and keeps it moist and tender.


The tradition of cooking fish in banana leaves dates back centuries and is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. The method of wrapping food in banana leaves for cooking is common in many tropical regions, as the leaves help to keep the food moist and impart a subtle, earthy flavor.


How to prepare

  1. To prepare the marinade for the fish, mix together the oil, chopped onion, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and red pepper.
  2. Clean the fish, leaving the scales on, and make a few lengthwise gashes on each side.
  3. Pour the marinade over the fish, making sure to get it into the gashes.
  4. Place the fish in a glass dish and let it marinate for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven and warm the banana leaves for 30 seconds.
  6. Remove the center rib of each leaf by cutting across it with a knife and pulling it off.
  7. Trim the ends of each leaf to form a large rectangle.
  8. Fold the banana leaves to completely enclose the ingredients, creating a packet that is two or three layers thick.
  9. Cook the packets on an outdoor grill.
  10. Turn the packets every 10 minutes.
  11. After 30 minutes, carefully open one packet to check if the fish is cooked. If not, continue cooking.
  12. Serve the fish in the packet along with boiled yams.


  • Use different types of fish, such as salmon or tilapia.
  • Add additional vegetables, such as bell peppers or zucchini, to the marinade.
  • Experiment with different spices and herbs to customize the flavor of the dish.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to clean the fish thoroughly before marinating it.

- Be sure to warm the banana leaves before wrapping the fish to make them more pliable.

- Check the fish for doneness by carefully opening one packet after 30 minutes of cooking.

- Serve the fish in the banana leaf packet for a beautiful presentation.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the fish in banana leaf with a side of steamed rice and a fresh salad for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

Grilling the fish in the banana leaf packet helps to infuse it with a smoky flavor and keeps it moist and tender.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you cannot find banana leaves, you can use parchment paper or aluminum foil as a substitute.

Make Ahead Tips

You can marinate the fish ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the fish in the banana leaf packet for a rustic and visually appealing presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair this dish with a crisp white wine or a cold beer to complement the flavors of the fish and spices.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the oven or on the grill until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Calories: 200 per serving


Carbohydrates: 2g per serving


Total Fat: 5g per serving

Saturated Fat: 1g per serving


Protein: 25g per serving

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin A: 10% of daily value per serving

Vitamin C: 20% of daily value per serving

Iron: 15% of daily value per serving


Contains fish


This dish is a good source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. It is relatively low in carbohydrates and fats, making it a healthy option for a balanced diet.


Fish in banana leaf is a delicious and healthy dish that is perfect for a special occasion or a weeknight meal. The combination of flavors and textures makes it a standout dish that is sure to impress your family and friends.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I knew it was something I had to make. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting a small fishing village on the coast of Thailand. The scent of fresh seafood filled the air, and I couldn't resist stopping at a local food stall to see what they were cooking.

As I approached the stall, I saw a woman expertly preparing fish fillets and wrapping them in banana leaves. The aroma that wafted from the grill was intoxicating, a mix of fragrant spices and smoky fish. I knew I had to try this dish for myself.

I struck up a conversation with the woman, whose name was Nong, and asked her about the recipe. She smiled warmly and invited me to watch as she cooked. Nong explained that the fish was seasoned with a blend of lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and chilies, then wrapped in banana leaves to infuse it with a subtle sweetness.

I watched as she grilled the fish over an open flame, the banana leaves crisping and caramelizing, releasing a mouth-watering aroma. When the fish was done cooking, Nong unwrapped the parcel to reveal perfectly cooked fillets, tender and moist from steaming inside the leaves.

I couldn't wait to try the dish, and Nong graciously offered me a taste. The fish was tender and flaky, with a delicate balance of flavors that danced on my taste buds. I was hooked.

From that moment on, I knew I had to learn how to make Fish in Banana-Leaf. I asked Nong for her recipe, and she generously shared it with me, along with tips and tricks she had picked up over the years. I was grateful for her guidance and couldn't wait to recreate the dish at home.

Back in my own kitchen, I gathered the ingredients I needed to make Fish in Banana-Leaf. I marinated the fish in a blend of lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and chilies, just as Nong had shown me. I carefully wrapped the fillets in banana leaves, securing them with toothpicks to keep the parcels intact.

I fired up the grill and placed the fish bundles over the flames, the scent of smoky banana leaves filling the air. As the fish cooked, I basted it with a mixture of coconut milk and fish sauce, adding depth and complexity to the flavors.

When the fish was done cooking, I unwrapped the banana leaves to reveal perfectly cooked fillets, just like the ones Nong had made. I couldn't wait to dig in and savor the fruits of my labor.

As I took my first bite, memories of my time in the fishing village flooded back. The taste of the dish transported me to that bustling market stall, with the sound of the waves in the background and the sun beating down on my skin.

I savored each bite of the tender, flaky fish, the flavors of lemongrass, ginger, and chilies dancing on my palate. I knew that this recipe would become a staple in my kitchen, a reminder of the warm summer day when I first discovered it.

Over the years, I have made Fish in Banana-Leaf countless times, each batch better than the last. I have shared the recipe with friends and family, passing on the tradition of this delicious dish to the next generation.

As I sit down to enjoy a plate of Fish in Banana-Leaf, I am grateful for the journey that led me to this recipe. It is a reminder of the power of food to connect us to our past, to transport us to far-off places, and to bring joy and nourishment to our lives. And for that, I am truly thankful.


| Congolese Meat Dishes | Congolese Recipes | Okra Recipes | Sorrel Recipes |

Recipes with the same ingredients