"As I kick around Jakarta, where I discover foods from all over Indonesia, one cuisine I really enjoy is Sundanese. It’s from the western part of Java and the way they eat there is to sit down to basically a smorgasbord of pre-cooked dishes. A typical meal has a huge variety of vegetables, meat and fish options, with plenty of rice and herbs, too. A dish that always catches my eye is this grilled fish in banana leaves – so vibrant in colour." Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's Street Food Asia






Skill level

Average: 1.4 (338 votes)


  • 500 g piece sea bass, skin on, cut into 4 even pieces
  • sea salt, to season
  • 4 banana leaf sheets, about 40 cm long
  • 1 long red chili, sliced
  • 8 coriander sprigs
  • steamed jasmine rice, to serve


  • 2 tsp pounded galangal (about 2 cm piece)
  • 1 tbsp pounded fresh turmeric (about 4 cm piece)
  • 1 tbsp pounded lemongrass (1 stalk)
  • 1 tsp pounded garlic
  • ½ tsp red curry powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce

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.


Marinating time 20 minutes

To make the marinade, combine the pounded galangal, turmeric, lemongrass and garlic in a mortar and pound with a pestle to make a fine paste. Transfer the paste to a mixing bowl, add the remaining marinade ingredients and stir to combine.

Season the fish with sea salt, then add to the marinade, turn to coat well and stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat a chargrill to medium.

Wrap each piece of fish in a banana leaf to completely enclose, then chargrill, folded-side down first for 6–8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Transfer the banana leaf parcels to serving plates, then use scissors cut the top of the parcels. Scatter with the sliced chili and coriander sprigs and serve immediately with steamed rice.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok.


Luke Nguyen's Street Food Asia airs Thursday at 8.30pm on SBS. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.