Grilled Fish with Garlic and Coriander (Plaa Phoa)


Banana leaves are used in this recipe to protect the fish from direct heat as well as to add an extra subtle flavour. The leaves will char as they cook under the grill or over the barbecue. Banana leaves are available at the Taj Stores with a large variety of Thai ingredients and fresh produce.

Cooking Time: 40mins
Serves: 4


  • 4 whole Red Tilapia, Red Mullet, Seabass or Mackerel (approx 300g each)
  • 8-10 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 6 coriander roots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 8 pieces of banana leaves
  • Chili sauce for serving


  1. Clean and gut the fish, leaving the heads on. Dry the fish thoroughly with kitchen towel. Score each fish three or four times.

  2. Using a pestle and mortar pound the garlic, coriander roots, pepper, salt and the oil into a paste. You may use a blender to follow this process if pestle and mortar is unavailable.

  3. Rub the paste inside the cavities and all over the fish, getting into the scoring. Put the marinated fish in a dish and cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  4. To soften the banana leaves and to prevent them from splitting put them in a hot oven for 10-20 seconds. Using two pieces of banana leaves, each with the grain running at right angles to the other, wrap each fish like a parcel. Add some excess marinade over the fish. Pin the ends of the banana leaf parcels with cocktail sticks.

  5. Heat a grill or a barbecue to medium heat. Place the parcels over the heat and cook for 15 minutes on each side. At this moment the banana leaves will be getting charred meaning the fish have turned light brown and ready to serve.

  6. Transfer the parcel on to a serving dish. Open the fish parcel and serve with a chili sauce, enjoy.