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Banana Leaf Packages Tied Up With String (These Are a Few of My Favorite Things)

By Chef David Bull of Congress Austin

Hmmm…what do you do when your neighbor comes home with 10 pounds of mackerel and offers you half if you’ll cook all of it and share with his family in return? Jamison, my daughter, and I wondered the same thing – what could we do with this bounty? As you may or may not know, Jamison is my #1 sous-chef (don’t tell anyone in the kitchen at my restaurant, they might be jealous), infinitely wise and talented at the ripe old age of 4. She can chop and prep like a pro not only from my lessons but from the knife skills she inherited from me!

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Chef Jamison in the Kitchen

Anyway, our fantastic neighbor showed up at the door with the mackerel, and we were ready to prepare two “banana leaf packages”. Not exactly the type of packages FedEx would pick up, Jamison and I created these “packages” by marinating first the mackerel in red onion, rice wine vinegar, serrano chili, and scallions.

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Marinating the Mackerel

We then loaded the center large banana leaves with sprouts and julienne snap peas.

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Sprouts and Julienne Snap Peas

We topped that with the marinated mackerel…

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Layer of Marinated Mackerel

…layered on some cremini mushrooms and fresh corn kernels…

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Layer of Creminis and Fresh Corn

…and wrapped the banana leaves up “like an envelope”, and tied with butcher’s twine.

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Then we baked at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the fish was cooked through, and the vegetables were tender.

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Banana Leaf Packages Ready to Bake

You can imagine our neighbor’s surprise when we rang his doorbell…he dropped off 10 pounds of whole fish, and there we were at his door with a lovely banana leaf wrapped package in return! Needless to say, I don’t think it’s the last time he’ll deliver fresh fish to our door, and that a beautiful little girl will arrive with a delicious bright green package in return!

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A Very Proud Chef Jamison Bull

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