This recipe was inspired by cookbook author, restaurateur and Hawaiian TV host Sam Choy. The use of the banana leaves adds a wonderful flavor to the fish and creates a standout presentation.
4 6-oz. grouper filets
4 10"× 12" banana leaf sheets
4 1⁄2" × 12" thin banana leaf strips
1 red bell pepper, julienned
FOR THE MARINADE:
1⁄2 cup tamari
4 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. lemon grass, finely chopped
1 tsp. chile garlic sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
FOR THE HERB BUTTER:
1 stick butter, room temperature
Zest of 1⁄4 lime
1⁄4 tsp. lemongrass, minced
1⁄2 tsp. ginger, minced
1 tsp. cilantro, chopped
1. For the marinade: Combine tamari, fish sauce, lemon grass, chile garlic sauce, and sugar in a medium bowl. Place grouper in marinade for 20 minutes. Set aside.
2. For the herb butter: Blend butter, lime zest, lemongrass, ginger, and cilantro in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil for the bamboo steamer. Remove grouper filets from marinade and place in center of banana leaf. Top fish with 1 1/2 tsp. of herb butter and 3 pieces of julienned red pepper.
4. Fold leaf into a package and tie with a banana leaf strip. Place in bamboo steamer in a single layer and cook 8–10 minutes. Note: If using a multi-tiered steamer, keep in mind that the fish in the top basket will take approximately 2 minutes longer to cook.
5. To serve, place sealed fish packages on individual plates to be opened at the table.