Chili and Lemon Grilled Fish with Banana Leaf

Grilled flounder wrapped in banana leaf

I love cooking with local Malaysian herbs and spices. Everything is just so pretty and colourful for the camera. But that’s not just it, the smell and flavour that these herbs release when you cut them is an like an appetiser, teasing your senses before the food is ready. 

Besides the mix of aromatic fresh herbs, banana leaf also contributes to another aspect of the dish. The light fragrance of the banana leaf gives your grill items a nice smell during cooking. It also protects the contents from drying up during the grilling process. You can find a lot of food that is cooked with banana leaf in Malaysia. 

So using the basic curry blend ingredients of garlic, shallots/onions, chilli, ginger and lemongrass, I added lemons into the grill fish wrap for a Thai twist. This basic blend is the base to many curry and spicy dishes. Whether you are using a charcoal grill or electric oven or air fryer, this recipe works for all gadgets in general.

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 pcs shallots
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3 red chilis (more if you like spicy)
  • 2-inch pc of ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 lemons
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • banana leaf for wrapping

Tips:

Remember to add the oil generously. It helps to cook the fish and the herbs evenly and releases the aromas

Towards the end of grilling, just take the banana leaf off and let the grill crisp up the surface for an aromatic golden top

Press the lemons to release the juice when done


Perfect Half-Boiled Eggs

How the half-boiled egg maker works

Did you know? The half-boiled egg maker was invented by a Malaysian in 1973 and was sold as the Newton Egg Maker. I took for granted that everyone knows what this gadget is but I realized that many of my friends from outside Malaysia and Singapore have never actually cooked their eggs this way.

When I first got my new Anova sous vide machine, I was excited to make some sous vide eggs that everyone was raving about — perfectly formed whites barely enveloping the creamy, liquid yolk inside. The instructions called for 45 minutes.

Just-cooked whites that doesn’t stick to the shell, clinging to a soft runny yolk inside

When my dad finally got to eat his sous vide eggs, the verdict was: “Almost the same as half-boiled egg. Just use the half-boiled egg maker. Takes only 10 minutes, save water, save electricity. ” To give the sous vide eggs credit, the yolks are a little creamier. But yes, it does save me a lot of time and work to just half-boil them the conventional Malaysian way.

So I started digging the cupboards for our yellow egg boiler. A four-piece plastic container that can cook up to 4 eggs each time. Almost every household and coffeeshop in Malaysia has one of these because the all time favourite Malaysian breakfast is half-boiled eggs with toast and a cup of hot coffee or Milo.

I decided to make a video of the half-boiled egg maker to show how this little gadget actually works. A few points to take note of when using this apparatus:

  • egg has to be at room temperature. If taking eggs out from the fridge, let it sit for 20 minutes or so until it has reached room temperature.
  • water has to be boiling. Straight from the boiling kettle or pot.
  • pour water up to the level indicator according to the number of eggs inside. This half-boiled egg maker can cook up to 4 eggs max.

Scientifically, if you want to boil the perfect egg, there is a formula for it. You have to take into account many variables such as the egg temperature, egg weight, surrounding temperature, air pressure, water temperature…blah blah blah. Unless you are into physics, many of us would just prefer to have a simple gadget that takes out all the calculations. But I did come across this Egg Boiling Calculator created by Miłosz Panfil, PhD and Mateusz Mucha. Something to amuse yourself if you do have time to experiment.