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Ngai ngai are the young leaves from the Rosella shrub (related to hibiscus). They can be steamed or stir-fried and are known as red sorrel in the Pacific. A bunch of sorrel can be substituted for ngai ngai and will compliment any Australian freshwater fish.






Skill level

Average: 4.4 (38 votes)


  • 1 whole fish, cut crossways into 2 inch segments


  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 knob ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bunch ngai ngai (Rosella leaves)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • ¼ onion, chopped  
  • 2 tbsp palm oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinate fish in a mixture of garlic, ginger, turmeric and salt.

Wash leaves, remove the little stems and chop leaf finely. Place onion, tomato and the chopped leaves into a saucepan with about 120 ml of water and simmer. When the leaves have reduced and turned brown, add palm oil and salt to taste and cook for a few more minutes.

Fry fish pieces in olive oil. Place fish pieces on serving dish and spoon mixture over the fish. This mixture is often eaten on its own.