Cooking Fish in Banana Leaf

Reading a food blog from a “Bong” without fish recipes is like drinking decaffeinated coffee. Till now our only fish recipe was “Salmon in Mustard Sauce”. Here is another classic style of cooking fish the Bengali way (marinated in spices and mustard oil) in steam by wrapping in banana leaf. Cooking in banana leaf leaves a faint musky, smoky and pungent aroma in the fish. Luckily for us, we found frozen banana leaves in an Asian grocery store near our home. Mostly fresh water fish found in river and lakes that are flaky in nature tastes best in this style of cooking. Our choice of fish was Boal Fish (Wallago attu). In the US, an easy alternative choice could be catfish as well.

The marination for this recipe can vary greatly. We kept it really simple with just a few ingredients in the marination that was made with onion, garlic, turmeric, chili powder and mustard oil. Some people like to use mustard paste, poppy seed paste etc as well.

The only difficult part of this preparation was wrapping the fish in banana leaf. You can see in the video that we were really struggling to wrap the fish in banana leaf without letting the marination squeeze out of the bundle. Once the fish is all bundled up in the banana leaf then there’s not too much left to do. Just cook it in a pan or grill for an hour or so with occasional turning. And in case you can’t get a banana leaf, just wrap the whole thing in aluminium foil and grill it  for 30 minutes.

We received a few encouraging feedback on our posts. Many thanks to our friends for giving us valuable suggestions to improve. It looks like there are people out there who really want to try out the recipes by watching our videos but it’s a pain to go back and forth in the video to note down the ingredients. So from this post onwards we are going to summarize the ingredients in the post as well.

Ingredients Summary

Boal Fish – 1 lb (500 gms); Onion (red) – 2 (thinly sliced); Garlic – 6 cloves (grated); Whole Green Chili – 3; Red Chili Powder – 1 tsp; Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp; Salt – 1 tsp; Mustard Oil – 2 tbsp; Banana Leaf

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How to cook momos

I fell in love with momos in 1993 when I savoured them for the first time at a small eatery in a Tibetan settlement in Kolkata. Both of us just love momos and spare no opportunity to eat them whenever and wherever we get one. In recent years, momos have grown in popularity as a street food in all regions of India.

Momos are dumplings native to Tibet and neighbouring regions of Nepal and Ladakh. Traditionally, in Tibet momos are made with minced yak meat.  So, if you ever happen to travel to Tibet or Ladakh (in India) then dont miss the yak momos.

Outside the Himalayas where you don’t get yak meat just any other meat will do (chicken, turkey, pork, goat meat, sheep meat, beef etc). If you are not meat eater just replace the meat with minced up vegetables (mushroom, carrots, cabbage, tofu or paneer).

Please checkout the video for the way we made it. The super-cool part of the video is watching my wife wrapping up the momos like a pro.

The interesting part of eating momos is the momo sauce. In Tibet, Nepal and India it is made with tomato, chilli pepper and spices. You can find lots of momo sauce recipes on the web by binging them up (love Bing more than Google because few of our posts turn up on the first page of Bing).

In US, we discovered this Chili Garlic sauce from Huy Fong Foods. We created our own momo sauce by mixing it with equal amount of tomato ketchup and it goes so good with the momos that there is no need to make momo sauce from scratch the traditional way.

Another great variation of momos is instead of steaming, just deep fry them golden and they will taste extremely delicious.

(Fried momos picture shown here is a download from web found using Bing search)

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Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm  Comments (11)  
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