Baked Tilapia in Banana Leaves

June 16, 2015

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country. In Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups with its own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. Melanau group (one of the Sarawak sub-ethnic group) has their unique traditional foods e.g. umai (raw fish salad). Traditionally, Melanau consume more fish compared with other sub-ethnic. This is because Malanau ancestors lived near the river and sea.

Our cook from Columbia Asia Hospital - Bintulu, Almelli would like to share one of her Melanau dish – Baked Tilapia in Banana Leaves. Traditionally, the dish shall be prepared by cooking fish in a bamboo and stuffed with water (Sarawak people called Pansoh). Almelli had simplified the cooking method to lets the beginner easier to handle this special dish.

Baked Tilapia in Banana Leaves
Serves 2

  • Tilapia fish fillet 500gm (or ikan keli, ikan patin and ikan sultan)
  • Banana leaves, cleaned 3-4 pieces

Marinate / Sauce:  
  • Shallot, raw 15gm
  • Garlic, raw 15gm
  • ­Ginger, 20gm
  • ­Coriander, ground 2 tablespoons
  • ­Local basil leaves, fresh 50gm
  • ­Fish sauce 3 tablespoons
  • ­Coconut milk, fresh 100ml
  • ­Kaffir lime leaves 2-4 pieces
  • ­Hot pepper (chili padi) 10gm
  • ­Lime juice, fresh 1 tablespoon
  1. ­Blend all ingredients for marinate/sauce
  2. Soak and marinate the fish fillet about 1 hour in deep bowl
  3. Wrap the fish with banana leaves
  4. Bake the fish on baking tray for 15 minutes
  5. Heat the remaining sauce in thick pot without oil. Serve together with the baked fish and rice

Nutrient Content (per serving):
Calorie (kcal) - 663
Protein (g) - 50
Fat (g) - 10
Carbohydrates (g) - 19
Sodium (mg) - 4494
Healthy Eating Tips:
  1. Replace fish sauce with sugar to balance sour and spicy flavor
  2. Replace coconut milk with low fat milk

Recipe prepared by:

Almelli Binti Anthony Abet
Mohd Sharil 
Kitchen Coordinator & Café Team
Columbia Asia Hospital - Bintulu