Whole fish roasted in banana leaf with citrus-herb sauce

Posted on 24 March 2020

This simple yet delicious recipe is a celebration of all things Mozambique. Wrapping fish in banana leaves allows it to slowly poach and soak up all the delicious flavours, while the sauce adds an extra hit of freshness.

Image credit: Samantha Pinto

Serves 6


2 whole medium-sized white fish, cleaned Zest and juice of 1 lemon (keep the squeezed halves)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chillies, finely sliced
4T olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 large banana leaves, cleaned
4 lemons, quartered
Cooked rice, for serving

For the sauce:
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped coriander
½ cup chopped chives
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup olive oil
1t honey


1. Using a sharp knife, cut three deep slashes on each side of the fish, right down to the spine.
2. Mix the lemon zest and juice, garlic, chilli and olive oil together and season well.
3. Rub this mixture all over the fish, making sure you get some of it in the slashes.
4. Slice the leftover squeezed lemon and stuff the slices inside the cavities of the fish.
5. Lay two banana leaves, slightly overlapping at the long edge, on a work surface and place a fish on top. Fold the ends in and roll the fish up in the leaves. Secure with string. Repeat with the other fish and leaves.
6. Roast the fish at 200˚C for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. (The fish can also be braaied, covered with a lid of some kind.)
7. Blend all the sauce ingredients together, then taste and adjust seasoning.
8. Carefully unwrap the fish, pour the sauce over and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve with rice and lemon wedges.


We got banana leaves from a florist. You can use foil or baking paper instead.

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