180 gmlong red chillies, seeds discarded, coarsely chopped120 gmgolden shallots (about 8), coarsely chopped80 gmgalangal, coarsely chopped2lemongrass stalks, white part only, thinly sliced1½ tbsproasted belacan (see note)80 ml (⅓ cup)vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing1 tbspcaster sugar1 tbspfish sauceJuice of2 limesFor barbecuing:banana leaves1red snapper (about 1.2kg)To serve: pineapple, young coconut and mint saladSambal belacan3long red chillies, seeds discarded, coarsely chopped2small red chillies (or to taste), coarsely chopped1 tsproasted belacan (see note)2 tbsptamarind paste mixed with 100ml warm water2golden shallots, thinly sliced ¼ tspcaster sugar
For sambal belacan, pound chillies and belacan to a coarse paste in a mortar and pestle (2-3 minutes), transfer to a bowl, stir in tamarind liquid, shallot and sugar and set aside.
Process chilli, shallot, galangal, lemongrass, belacan and oil in a food processor to a fine paste, transfer to a wok or frying pan, stir occasionally until oil separates (3-4 minutes). Add sugar, fish sauce and lime juice, stir to combine, remove from heat, cool completely.
Lay out banana leaves on a work surface overlapping to form a piece large enough to wrap and enclose fish, then brush with oil.
Preheat a barbecue or char-grill pan to medium-high heat. Slash snapper diagonally in several places on each side and spread half the chilli mixture over, then place fish paste-side down in centre of banana leaves. Spread with remaining chilli paste, then wrap banana leaves over to enclose. Wrap in foil, place on barbecue and cook, turning once, until just cooked through (7-8 minutes each side). Open parcel and serve fish with sambal belacan and pineapple, young coconut and mint salad.
Note Belacan is a shrimp paste available from Asian grocers. To roast, preheat oven to 180C, wrap belacan in foil and roast (10-15 minutes). Alternatively, because the belacan becomes very pungent during roasting, you can roast it outside on an enclosed barbecue.
This recipe is from the January 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.