Time to try something a little different on the grill. Or at least, it’s new for me. I went to my local Asian market and purchased frozen banana leaves. I’ve researched the process and decided how I will tackle this for the first time. I’ll be documenting this so we can both walk through this learning experience together.
Note: You’ll notice the picture doesn’t quite match the instructions. That’s because I’m slightly modifying the way it’s done, based on some of the areas I felt were a struggle, and should be done slightly different.
Okay, lets get started.
First things first, lets prepare the rub we’re going to use on the salmon.
2 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS Paprika
1 TBS ground orange peel
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine all of the rub ingredients together in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set the rub aside.
Note: With the brown sugar, a shaker would be tough, so just sprinkle it on by hand. You’ll be rubbing it in anyway to achieve a uniform application.
Rest of Ingredients:
- 1 (2 lb.) salmon filet
- Salmon Rub (from this recipe)
- 6 thin lime slices (per filet)
- A few sprigs of cilantro (ground leaves will do also)
- Whole banana leaves (can usually be found in Asian markets)
Once again, first things first. Depending on how many filets you’re grilling, take the banana leaves out of the freezer and get them thawing out. This only takes about 10 minutes.
Now lets get that grill going. You’ll need a medium – high heat for this one.
Cutting and Preparing the Banana Leaves
This was the tricky part for me. A lot of recipes on the internet say to cut this in a 12″ x 12″ square. Doesn’t work too well at all. Here is how I ended up having to do this:
1) A (2 lb.) filet will be about 12 to 15 inches long. Cut the filet into 3 even lengths. (About 4 1/2 inches long). Remove the skin from the salmon as thoroughly as possible.
2) Before cutting your banana leaf into lengths, go along the edge of the leaf and cut a 1/2 wide strip, 18 inches long. You’ll need 3 of these. These are to tie the package up.
3) Now cut (3) lengths of banana leaf (18 inches) long.
4) Now that the banana leaves are cut and thawed out, and the grill is going, place the banana leafs one at a time on the grill for about 10 seconds. Long enough for them to start wilting just a bit. You’ll see them start to look wet and shiny right away. This will make them more pliable. Then flip it over and do the same to the other side.
Let’s Prepare the Salmon
- Spread out flat, one banana leaf. Starting near one end of the leaf (length wise), evenly place 3 lime slices and a light sprinkling of cilantro on it in the center of the leaf (width wise), about the length of the salmon filet.
- Liberally apply the spice rub on the top of a filet, then flip it over and place it on the banana leaf, on top of the lime and cilantro. Apply the rub to the second side.
- Place 3 lime slices and cilantro on the second side of the filet.
- Wrap the contents of the leaf up into a neat little package.
- Fold the ends over, and tie the package with one of the thin strips of banana leaf across the middle.
- Place the neat little packages on the grill directly above the coals, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on the first side. Now flip the package over and cut a slit length wise through the banana leaf to expose the fish. You’ll want to open it up a bit too. This is so you can monitor the cooking of the salmon, and know when it’s cooked to perfection.
Note: If the banana leaf starts burning after flipping it, have some aluminum foil ready to go, and just slide that under the packages. This is because your fire is just a bit too hot.
This had a very nice flavor to it. Not sure if it was just the rub, or the banana leaf, but it was absolutely delicious!
This should easily serve 4.