A true Malay classic, ikan panggang/ikan bakar (grilled fish wrapped in banana leaves) is very popular in Malaysia. Marinated with dollops of spice paste, the fish is wrapped in banana leaves and grilled to perfection over charcoal fire.
The smell of burnt banana leaves imparts the fish with a smoky flavor and the spice paste infuses the fish fillet with layers upon layers of spicy taste.
Ikan Panggang/Ikan Bakar is usually served with sambal belacan with sliced shallots. I love the sambal as it adds that extra kick to this wonderful street snack.
The key ingredient of ikan panggang/ikan bakar is the chili paste. I used dried chilies, turmeric, shallots, galangal, lemon grass, and a little bit of belacan as the marinate. For the fish, stingray wings/skate wings are ideal, but I substituted it with a sole fillet (you can also use any flat fish).
Preparation might take some time; you will need to pound the spice paste, wrap the fish with banana leaves, marinate it overnight (preferably), and make the sambal condiment. But as you open up the banana leaves and the inviting aroma of the grilled fish fills your kitchen, you will realize that the end result is well worth the effort.