Steamed Swordfish in Banana Leaves

Seasoned Swordfish with citrus, ginger, tomatoes and cilantro wrapped in banana leaves then steamed.  A cooking style I learned from my mother. 


Besides frying, my mother would sometimes steam or grill the fish.   She would wrap it in banana leaves and steam it on a wood stove. It was very satisfying to inhale the fragrant aroma of flavor before I sunk my fork into the moist, tender fish. tasty!

Swordfish is one of my husband’s favorite seafood.  He loves that I make it the same way.


Swordfish is dense, meaty, mildly sweet in flavor and an excellent source of protein.  Each serving contains at least 30 grams according to guidelines.  It’s also rich in potassium, Vitamin D & E, and selenium.  According to studies, protein is very beneficial for you.  Your body uses protein to produce enzymes, transport oxygen and maintain healthy tissues including your muscles, hair and nails.  Potassium acts as electrolyte, an essential process for the function of your muscles and nerves while selenium provides protection against cancer. 

However, we don’t eat it often (it’s been years since we had it last) because it’s expensive ($28 a pound) and high in mercury.  Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant or planning to get pregnant should avoid eating swordfish. You can substitute tilapia (or any fish) instead and use the cooking procedures in this post.  I tried it and it was just as good.


  • 1 (.51 lb) Swordfish steak (or tilapia or salmon)
  • 4 thinly cut firm butter (2 tablespoons)
  • 6 tricolor cherry tomatoes (or any tomatoes), halves
  • 6 slices of ginger (thickness of a nickel), divided
  • slices of lemon and lime
  • salt and pepper or soy sauce to taste or both ( I used salt and pepper)
  • a handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 long green chili (optional) 
  • 4 large wilted banana leaves (large enough to fit all the ingredients), divided


  1. On low heat, wilt the banana leaves over your stove.  Be careful not to burn yourself or the leaves.
  2. Drizzle the wilted leaves with small amount of oil then gently wipe with a paper towel.  The oil makes it easy to wipe the banana leaves and  prevent them from tearing. 
  3. Layer three banana leaves and arrange in order the cilantro, 3 ginger slices, swordfish, the remaining 3 slices of ginger, butter, lemon & lime slices, tomatoes, and more cilantro.  Season with the seasoning of your choice (salt and pepper, soy sauce or both)
  4. Wrap the fish by gathering the banana leaves and tuck the sides down or fold them up (the latter is best).
  5. Pull three strands from the remaining banana leaf  and use them to tie to secure the wrap.
  6. Place in a steamer.  Bring water to a rapid boil and steamed the fish for 30-35 minutes.  
  7. Remove from the pan and cut the tie with scissors.  Unfold the banana leaves and  enjoy.

Note: You can go ahead and heat the water over low heat while you prepare the fish to save time.  Then increase the heat when it’s time to steam the fish. You can also garnish it with chopped fresh cilantro.

That is all for now.  If you like this post or my blog, don’t forget to Subscribe or Follow to get the latest recipes. Please be kind and link back to source when you use or share any of my recipes.  Thank you for stopping by.  Until next time.  Have a fantastic day!

© (2014)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

12 thoughts on “Steamed Swordfish in Banana Leaves

  1. I’m with your Husband, Anna. I, too, love swordfish. I don’t know where I can find banana leaves but I’ll figure something out. Your recipe sounds too good to pass up because I can’t find a couple leaves. 🙂

    • Hi, John! Banana leaves can be found in the frozen section of most Asian and Latino stores. I’m sure you can find one grocers in Chicago. You can use taro leaves as substitute if you can’t find any banana leaves. Just be careful when taking it out from the steamer. You need to use two large spatula to keep it intact. You can also use Swiss chard as a wrap and tie it. You can blanch it in boiling water then immediately place it in iced or cold water to prevent it from cooking further. You have a wrap for any fish your prefer. 🙂 Have a great weekend, John and enjoy the steamed fish. 🙂

    • Yay! Thank you, Shanna. It was really tasty. You can use any fish and flavor them the way you want it. I love cooking a fish this way besides baking and poaching. It’s easy and keeps all the flavors in. Have a fantastic weekend, Shanna. Thanks for all your support. Warm regards to you all. 🙂

    • Lol. That wasn’t my intention but you said it girlfriend. 🙂 Thanks for making me laugh. It’s a great stress reliever. Have a great weekend, Cita. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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