One of the things I miss most out of all the tremendous range of hawker food in Penang is Ikan Pangang (literally: barbecued fish). Fish and seafood wrapped in banana leaves barbecued over coal fires. Here is my away from Penang hack.
Home Made Grilled Banana Leaf Wrapped Sea Bream and Lam Choot
This is the closest I’ve come to recreating it at home.
The Grilled Fish
Oven grilled Banana Leaf Wrapped Sea Bream and Lam Choot (dipping sauce)
Wrapping in banana leaves and the grilling the fish brings out an amazingly earthy, aromatic scent. When combined with the delicious fragrant smell of grilled fish it really is amazing.
The fish has to be fresh. We’ve found Morrison’s exceptionally good for this. Best fish to use in our experience has been sea bream although ideally skate would be perfect – just that it’s fairly rare and pretty pricey.
The Sauce – Lam Choot
Lam choot, the shallots, chillies and sauce mix, is a family traditional nyonya addition. Typically hawkers in Penang would serve this with their own variations of sambal.
If you’re interested in trying this, the banana leaves aren’t essential but they add an amazing dimension to the flavour and taste. The fishes are cleaned thoroughly. I do remove the gills and clean out the belly parts. Slightly salted in the cavity and all over and then simply placed under a hot grill for 30-40 mins.
If you have an outdoor grill pan just like those you see used at the hawker centers, it will work too but you might want a cover to go over the fish to have it cook thoroughly.