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Banana Leaf Snapper with Green Papaya Seed Salad

Serves 4

prepARATION and cooking 40 minutes

Wine Matches Peter Bourne
‍Photography Benjamin Dearnley


4 fresh large banana leaves
1 stalk lemongrass
30g fresh ginger
2 long red chillies, halved
8 makrut lime leaves
1 bunch each fresh Thai basil and coriander, stalk and leaves separated
2 tbsp peanut oil
4 x 35g baby snapper, cleaned, scaled
1/2 medium green papaya, reserve 1 tbsp
of papaya seeds
200b daikon, cut into long thin strips
lime slices, to serve

1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 shallot, chopped finely
1 fresh long red chilli chopped finely
2 makrut lime leaves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil


1Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease two oven trays.

2Working with one banana leaf at a time, place leaves in a large saucepan of boiling water for 20 seconds or until it turns dark green; pat dry.

3Cut a 5cm piece from the base of the lemongrass; finely chop. Reserve for green papaya seed dressing. Coarsely chop remaining lemongrass stalk. Peel ginger, reserve peel. Finely grate ginger; reserve for green papaya seed dressing.

4Combine coarsely chopped lemongrass, reserved ginger peels, chilli, makrut lime leaves and herb stalks in a medium bowl.

5Place one banana leaf on work bench, brush with a little oil. Place one fish at the end of the leaf; brush fish with a little more oil, season with salt. Fill fish cavity with one-quarter of the lemongrass mixture. Wrap leaf around fish to enclose; secure with skewers. Place parcel on oven tray. Repeat process with remaining leaves, oil, fish and lemongrass mixture.

6Bake parcels on both oven trays for 15 minutes or until cooked.

7Meanwhile, to make green papaya seed dressing, finely chop half the reserved papaya seeds. Place in a screw-top jar with reserved finely chopped lemongrass and reserved grated ginger (both from step 3), and remaining dressing ingredients; shake well.

8Peel papaya. Using a julienne peeler, cut papaya and daikon into long thin strips. Place in a medium bowl with herb leaves; toss to combine.

9Unwrap parcel, top with salad and remaining papaya seeds; drizzle with dressing and top with lime.

TIP: Buy banana leaves that are 80cm in length. If you have a gas stove top, soften the leaves by moving them, one at a time, carefully over a direct flame until they darken. This will make them more pliable.

Wine Match

2018 Howard Park Mount Barker Riesling, Great Southern, A$35

Snapper is a succulent fish with a silken texture and abundant flavour. The accompanying green papaya salad adds crunch and zest so an equally tangy wine makes the perfect partner. Riesling is the go-to and none better than the Howard Park sourced for their Mount Barrow vineyard. It’s lime fresh with an underlying minerality that picks up the similarly salty flavours of the snapper. The Howard Park plays with the lime and chilli component to complete the synergetic combination.