banana leaf wrapped whole fish


Banana Leaf Wrapped Whole Fish

Banana Leaf Wrapped Whole Fish

Pescado Envuelto en Hoja de Plátano, recipe courtesy Pedro Evia

Recipe Yield

4 servings

Cooking time

40 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.63 from 8 votes


  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup bitter orange juice or its substitute
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt plus more to season the fish
  • 6 Banana leaves stems removed
  • 1 whole 3-pound fish, red snapper or snook, scaled and gutted
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dried oregano leaves
  • 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh epazote leaves

To Prepare

  • Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium-high heat.
  • To make the "mojo," place the garlic, cilantro leaves, bitter orange juice, olive oil and salt in a molcajete and mash into a paste. Alternatively, you may add these ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until fully combined but still chunky.
  • To make a wrap for the fish, arrange the banana leaves overlapping on a work surface. Season the fish all over with salt and pepper, and place in the center of the leaves. Pour the "mojo" over both sides of the fish, then top with the oregano, mint and epazote. Fold the banana leaves over fish to cover and tie or tuck leaves around fish to enclose.
  • Place the fish on the grill and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn and continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until the fish is cooked through. To serve, unfold leaves and filet the fish.


8comments inBanana Leaf Wrapped Whole Fish

  1. Manny Espinoza

    May 20

    Hi Pati,
    I’m looking forward to making this recipe once I find the epazote leaves. Question, everything goes only on one side of the fish and the epazote and mint leaves go on as whole and not chopped, right?

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 23

      Hola Manny, the “mojo” goes all over the fish, both sides, then you top it with whole leaves of oregano, mint and epazote 🙂 Enjoy!

  2. Martha E Munguia

    Mar 02

    Wonderful recipe, my family devoured the red snapper and stated it’s a keeper! The flavors of the different herbs were blended together for a very tasty dish. My first time using banana leaves and the fish was succulent!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 07

      Yay! Thanks so much for your feedback Martha, hugs to the family 🙂

  3. Gregg

    Jan 24

    Pati…una pregunta – I made this the other night and wow – the grill destroyed the banana leaves. I ensured that the heat was no higher than med-high, but they were charred…luckily I had double wrapped the fish so the fish was protected by the second layer but barely – it was muy rico, but I’m just curious how to make this again without fear of the leaves burning. The marinade is just fantastic – have used it on shrimp and scallops since.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 10

      Hi Gregg! If you check out the pic for this recipe you will see that the banana leaves are inevitably going to char, but to make sure they do not completely burn, make sure they are fresh and not dry at all. Good luck 😉

  4. Dan

    Feb 08

    Pati, can this fish be cooked in the oven instead?
    Dan S

    1. Pati

      Feb 26

      Absolutely, Dan!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.