Fish - whole mackerel, or any skin-on fillet
Shallot, roughly chopped
Thai chillies, chopped
Lemongrass, roughly chopped
Galangal, sliced thinly
Ginger, smashed and chopped
Lime Leaves, julienned
Fresh Lime Juice
Palm sugar, grated
Score the fish on both sides, salt it and drizzle the juice of one lime over it. Leave to marinate while making the curry paste.
To a mortar and pestle add a couple roughly chopped Thai chillies, a few candlenuts, a few cloves of smashed garlic, 4cm of ginger, smashed and roughly chopped, a few slices of galangal, two lemongrass stalks, pounded and roughly chopped, turmeric powder, julienned lime leaves, a fresh bay leaf, salt, and grated palm sugar.
Pound the ingredients until a rough paste forms, then transfer to a food processor to finish the job. The mortar and pestle breaks the cell walls of the plants, releasing more flavor compounds than a food processor can, so it's important not to skip that step.
Wipe down a banana leaf with a damp cloth or paper towel.
Place a basil frond at the center of the leaf.
Spread the curry paste on all sides of the fish, including inside its belly, then lay it on top of the basil leaves.
Fold the banana leaf in thirds like a letter in an envelope.
Fold in both ends to form a sealed pouch, then secure the ends with toothpicks.
Place the pouch in a steamer basket and steam over boiling water for 20 minutes.
Transfer the pouch to a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat, and grill on both sides until the pouch darkens with grill marks.
Serve the fish over white rice.
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