Ani is a member of TMSG’s Multicultural Women’s Group, Sewing Group and English Conversation Group and grew up in Indonesia. Here is her recipe for:


"As I am born near the ocean it is not surprising that our main dishes are mainly seafood and many vegetables and herbs found in the spice island of Indonesia.

There can be no more fun than to go fishing in the early morning and return home with a few fish which are easily prepared and don’t take a long time to cook.

The Hot and Sour Fish in Banana Leaves is one of our delicious meals. I usually prepare the Lime and Sweet Sour Dressing already in the morning, so we can sit down and enjoy our lunch or dinner quickly.

As soon as the fish starts steaming and the rice starts boiling a delicious smell fills our home. By that time everyone is getting excited and the kids are quick to set the table.

We all sit down and we eat it with fingers instead of cutlery. The taste is even better that way. A little piece of fish a little bit of dressing and large part of rice mixed together disappears on top of our tongue and a smile comes to our faces.

This dish is probably the most delicious fish dish we can devour, and not much cleaning up to do so you can relax."

Preparation time 25 minutes plus time for marinating, cocking time 20 minutes.
4 medium whole bream good size about 1.8 kg
1large banana leaf
4 bird eye chillies, sliced thinly
2 fresh kaffir lime leaf, shredded finely
2 green onions
¼ cup loosely packed coriander leaves
¼ cup loosely packed basil leaves
2 sticks fresh lemon grass
Cotton string

Lime and sweet chilly dressing
¼ cup sweet chilli sauce
2 table spoons fish sauce
2 table spoons lime juice
2 tablespoon peanut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1. make lime and sweet chilli dressing
2. score fish both sides through thickest part of the fish, place on a large tray, drizzle with half of the lime and sweet chilli dressing, cover, refrigerate for one hour
3. trim banana leaf into four 30 cm squares, using tongs, dip one at a time into boiling water remove immediately rinse under cold water and pad dry with kitchen paper
4. place leaves on work surface, combine chilli, lime leaf’s, onion, coriander and basil in medium bowl, halve lemon grass lengthways and cut in half that gives you 8 pieces
5. Put two pieces cut lemongrass on each leaf put one fish on each, top fish with equal amounts of the herb mixture, fold the leaf over and secure each parcel with the cotton string. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes until the fish is cocked.
Lime and sweet chilli dressing
Combine ingredients in screw-top jar and shake well.

Any firm fish can be used, in case you don’t have steamer, fish can be cocked in a fry pan or a BBQ

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Heidi Hatherell