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.

Baked Salmon Escabeche

In case you are wondering what the apples have to do with my post, my children and I went to pick apples at an orchard along with some friends.   We planned on having lunch, so I cooked chicken adobo, pansit and some Filipino desserts, which I will be posting soon.   We went straight to the apple orchard and waited for my friends to arrive from picking tomatoes in the farm.  By the time we got together, it was lunch time.  The tomatoes were given to me and  I was so eager to use them in this recipe because they were so fresh and tasted sweet.

This recipe is adapted from my mother’s very own Tilapia Escabeche.   In my mother’s recipe, the fish is whole and fried and she used cherry tomatoes and red onions but no ginger and simmered the fish in the sauce.  I made it in the past by using a whole red snapper fish (scroll all the way down to see photo).

My version is baked and very easy to make and it’s ready in  25 minutes.*   I had wild salmon in the refrigerator that I purchased  from Costco.  I didn’t really want to fry it, so I immediately thought of baking it and making the sauce separate and pour it over the salmon.  Brilliant!  This was our dinner last night.  The salmon was succulent and tender and the chilies and cilantro added character to the dish.  Delicious!

Prepare the ingredients.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


  • 3-4 servings salmon fillets
  • 1 medium onion, cut crosswise
  • 2 sprigs  green onions, cut
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4  cup soy sauce
  • 3 fl. tablespoons water
  • thumb size ginger root, peeled and pounded with a meat mallet
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Green chili peppers
  • cilantro for garnish

Preparation Methods:

Lightly season salmon fillet with a pinch of salt and black pepper.  Bake salmon for 20-25 minutes* or until opaque.  Remove salmon from the oven and set aside or leave the salmon in the oven and open the oven door halfway to release the heat. This will prevent the salmon  from overcooking.  Make the sauce.

Heat skillet over medium heat and coat with oil when hot.  Add garlic and fresh ginger and saute for 1 minute.


Add tomatoes, onions, and green onions. Stir-fry until onions and tomatoes are somewhat soft about 3 minutes.*


Add the chillies.


Then add soy sauce, sugar, and water.  Stir -fry  for 1 minute to incorporate.  Turn off heat.


Arrange the salmon on a large plate.  Scoop the cooked onions, tomatoes, and chillies and put over salmon.  Pour the sauce on top and garnish with cilantro.  Serve immediately.  Bon Appetit! 🙂


And here’s the snapper escabeche with salsa that I made in the past using my mother’s classic escabeche recipe.  🙂

Whole snapper Escabeche with salsa

*Note:  Due to the variations on all ovens, cooking time may require adjustments.

© (2013)   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.