Indonesia Eats

Teach a Man to Fish: Pepes Ikan Woku (Manado Woku Spiced Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves)


I just realized that there is the 3rd annual Teach a Man to Fish as the latest intake is October 31. Better to get hurry before I let it pass again since I missed the 2nd one.

As a girl who grew up in the archipelago country, I used to have fresh ocean fish. My beloved dad also worked for fishery department at that time, no wonder that I eat fish and seafood just like beef, chicken or pork for Manitobans.

Teach a Man to Fish has educated me to be more wise in consuming fish/seafood. It’s ok to eat them but eating sustainable ones is better feeling. Hope, you still remember with my first participation.

This recipe can be applied for any fishes. I used Pacific halibut with a MSC-eco label certified by Marine Stewardship Council. There is a good news for Canadians. According to the MSC’s website, the Canada Pacific halibut fishery of British Columbia has passed its assessment to earn MSC certification for being a sustainable and well-managed fishery. It is the first fishery in B.C. to earn this distinction.

I am very happy to know that Superstore, retail grocery stores of Loblaw Companies Limited in Western Canada is also pro-active to supply all seafood sold in the stores from sustainable sources by the end of 2013.

What can I say about this recipe? A marriage between a North American’s sustainable fish and Indonesian recipe. You will notice two herbs are not really common to use in Canada, lemon basil (Indonesian: daun kemangi) and turmeric leaves. Well, turmeric is easy to find fresh, frozen or powder here. How about the leaves? Yes! I am planting turmeric root just to get the leaves inside my apartment. I have a very tiny felt-like green house for potting tropical herbs especially the ones that can’t be found for purchase in Winnipeg. Turmeric and kencur have been grown respectively three years and has good yields every year. This year, I started to plant three different basills, lemon, Thai, and sweet basils. Two of them are easy to find at grocery stores, but not lemon basil.

Pepes Ikan Woku is the name of this food. It can be translated as Steamed Fish with Woku Spices in Banana Leaves. Woku spices are rich Manadonese mixed spices. Manadonese is an ethnic group of Indonesia that inhibits Sulawesi island, near by the Philippine.

Pepes Ikan Woku
recipe by Yohana Halim and Sedap Sekejap, modified and translated by me

Ingredients
500 g fish steak (I used halibut steak)
calamansi
4 sprigs of lemon basil leaves (kemangi leaves)
1 turmeric leaves
7 kaffir lime leaves, 5 leaves for shredded and tear off the rest
1 pandan leaf, cut into 2 cm length
1 lemongrass, take the white part and bruised
banana leaves for wrapper
tooth picks

Grind into a paste
8 shallots
10 red chilies or as desired
4 candlenuts, toasted
3 cm long turmeric, roasted and peeled
3 cm long ginger, peeled
3 tbsp ground frozen lemongrass
salt as desired

Directions
1. Squeeze calamansi over fish and mariante for 30 minutes.
2. Rub fish with spiced paste and let it for 15 minutes.
3. Place fish, spiced paste, the leaves ingredients in banana leaves, wrap them up and pin with wood tooth picks or tie wih strings. Steam 45 minutes or until done.

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