1. Place all the spice paste ingredients in a grinder and process until smooth.
  2. If you need to add more flavor, add more salt and white pepper.
  3. To prepare the fish for grilling, cut 3 diagonal slits, each about 1.3 cm deep, across each side of the fish. Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper.
  4. Steam the banana leaf in the microwave at 180°C for 3 minutes to soften; wipe dry. Center the leaf shiny side down.
  5. To cook the fish, fill the cavity and slits of the fish with about one-third of the spice paste. Spread another third of the spice paste directly on the banana leaf and lay the fish on top of the paste. Cover the rest of the fish with the remaining paste. Fold the leaf over the fish, wrapping it completely. Place the wrapped fish in the microwave to grill until the fish turns opaque, about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve the fish with the banana leaf intact. When ready, open the leaf to expose the fish. Garnish with the lime slices.



  • 500g whole fish, sea bass or red snapper, cleaned and scaled
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ lime, sliced thinly for garnish
  • 1 or 2 banana leaves, large enough to wrap around fish


Spice Paste:

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bottom 10 cm only, thinly sliced
  • 3 walnut-sized shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 fresh red jalapeno chilies, de-seeded
  • 60ml water
  • ½ tsp Belacan (dried shrimp paste)
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper