1.5kg Regal Salmon whole fillet, trimmed
4 tbsp tamarind pulp
½ tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp chilli paste
125g shredded desiccated coconut, or 250g fresh grated coconut
¼ cup peanut oil
4 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 large fresh red chillies, de-seeded, sliced thinly
1 tsp ground coriander
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1 stem fresh lemon grass, tougher outer leaves removed, centre chopped
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh mint or Vietnamese mint leaves
Combine the tamarind pulp with one cup of warm water, salt, garlic and chilli paste in a bowl. Leave to ‘dissolve’, and stir from time to time to break the tamarind pulp apart.
Trim the Regal Salmon fillet of any excess fat or skin, and remove the pin bones from the middle of the fillet using a strong pair of tweezers. Lay the fillet, skin side down in a glass dish.
Pour the tamarind marinade over the Regal Salmon and cover all the flesh well. Leave to rest and marinate in a cool place for 1 hour. Remove the salmon from the marinade and transfer to a plate covered with 2 large pieces of baking paper or banana leaves if using. Reserve the marinade.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Soak the shredded coconut in half cup of warm water for 5 minutes. If using fresh coconut, no need to do this.
Heat the oil in a large shallow frying pan. Add the shallots, chillies, coriander, ginger, and lemon grass. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until shallots are tender. Add the soaked coconut with the soaking water or the fresh coconut if using, and the reserved marinade and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 6-8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Spoon coconut mixture over the salmon fillet spreading it all over the top of the fish. Fold the banana leaves or baking paper over to make a parcel, tucking the ends in under the fish to secure. Use bamboo skewers at either end to create a sealed parcel.
Place the parcel on a baking tray and bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Serve the fish in the banana or paper wrapping, and unfold just before serving, to keep all the juices in.
Garnish with plenty of mint, coriander and Vietnamese mint leaves and extra chilli flakes. Accompany with pineapple and chilli salsa and plenty of lime wedges.
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