Recipe courtesy of Marc Maron

Grilled Snapper in Banana Leaf: Pepes Ikan Kakap

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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2 pounds snapper filets

Salt and pepper

1 Bali lemon, or two regular limes

Betutu spice, recipe follows

Banana leaves, or tin foil

3 salam leaves, or substitute bay leaves

2 sliced green tomatoes

2 kaffir lime leaves

1/4 sweet basil leaves

Betutu spice:

1/2 cup peeled shallots

1/4 cup peeled garlic

2 tablespoons fresh turmeric

2 tablespoons fresh peeled ginger

2 tablespoons galangal

3 pieces lemongrass

2 tablespoons fresh hot chili peppers seeded and cleaned

2 tablespoons palm sugar chopped

4 tablespoons shrimp paste

1/4 cup coconut oil, for frying


  1. Tamarind water, to soften, or substitute with the juice of 2 lemons
  2. In a bowl season the fish with salt, pepper, lime juice, and betutu paste.
  3. On a sheet tray, lay down the banana leaf. Place a salam leaf on the banana leaf. Place the fish on the middle of the banana leaf over the salam leaf. Place sliced green tomatoes, lime leaf, sweet basil, and tamarind water on the fish. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Wrap the fish folding both ends together and secure with a bamboo skewer. Grill until cooked, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Betutu spice:

  1. Grind shallots, garlic, tumeric, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chili peppers, palm sugar, and shrimp paste in a food processor. Saute paste with coconut oil.