Banana leaves are a wonderful way to wrap and cook seafood, it keeps the fish moist, protects it from direct heat and looks amazing for presentation. It is a good idea to slightly warm the banana leaves in the oven or pass them over a light flame until the turn a bright green and soften slightly. They will be easier to wrap around your fish and will not tend to tear so easily.
A sambal is a condiment sauce usually made from chili, spices, lime juice and sometimes sugar. It is commonly used with noodle dishes, soups, stews, meat, rice, and even eggs. A sambal can also be used to add heat and flavour to marinades, dips, sauces, and spreads. This sambal is a little lighter on the chili although if you prefer a hot hot sambal add in more chili. I love the coconut in this and the melon gives it a wonderfully fresh flavour that will accompany just about any seafood. Store the sambal in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Preheat the oven to 180c
Slice the fish just to the bone on each side of the fillet and set aside. In a blender combine all the ingredients except the sliced lemon, extra lemon grass and of course the banana leaves.
Blend the herbs and spices until a rough paste is formed. Press the paste into the cuts in the fish on both sides and spread some into the centre of the fish.
Place the sliced lemon and the sliced extra lemongrass into the centre of the fish and then place the fish onto the banana leaves.
Wrap up the fish and tie with kitchen twine or fasten with skewers. Place the fish onto a large baking tray and bake for 70 minutes.
In a food processor pulse the chilies until finely chopped, add in the lime juice, onion and the coconut and again pulse until just combined, you still want the sambal to be loose not a paste. Stir in the sweet chili sauce, the water and the melon and serve along side the fish.
Once the fish is cooked, cut open the banana leaves and serve with the sambal.