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.

Grouper Steamed in Banana Leaves Grouper Steamed in Banana Leaves
Banana leaves impart a fragrant and delicate flavor to the fresh fish in this Hawaiian preparation.
Yield: serves 4

For the Fish and Marinade

  • 12 cup tamari
  • 4 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 (6-oz.) grouper filets
  • 4 (10-by-12–inch) banana leaf sheets
  • 4 (1/2-by-12–inch) thin banana leaf strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned

For the Herb Butter

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • Zest of 1/4 lime
  • 14 tsp. minced lemongrass
  • 12 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. chopped cilantro


  1. For the marinade: Combine tamari, fish sauce, lemongrass, Sriracha, and sugar in a medium bowl. Place grouper in marinade for 20 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Make 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 12 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.