Steamed Drum in Banana Leaf with Local Kimchi

Some of the most popular dishes on the Three Muses menu have included healthy, probiotic-heavy, beguiling kimchi. Here, Dan Esses of Three Muses pairs kimchi with simple, steamed fish in banana leaves. Banana leaves are available in the freezer section of most Asian and Latin American groceries. “The best thing about this dish is that it also comes with its own plate,” says Esses.
May 18, 2016


Make the kimchi:

Combine salt and water in a large container. Add carrots, beets and cauliflower to the saltwater and soak for 4 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside.

In a food processor, purée garlic, ginger and fish sauce until smooth, like a paste.

In a large bowl, combine the paste with the green onion, radishes and kale.

Add chili flakes and mix well.

Add the saltwater-soaked vegetables to the bowl with the paste and other ingredients. Mix well, making sure that all vegetables have been rubbed well with the paste.

Place in a nonreactive vessel or a ceramic crock. Put a weight on top and place in a dark space for at least 2–4 days. After 2 days, taste the kimchi. When the flavor is right, store covered in the refrigerator.

Steam the fish:

Place each piece of fish in the center of a banana leaf. Sprinkle the fish with a quarter of the garlic, green onion and ginger. Add salt and pepper.

Wrap the fish up like a parcel and place in a bamboo steamer set over a wok or pot filled with boiling water. Steam, covered, for about 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked and its flesh is opaque.

To serve:

Unwrap the fish. Place a spoonful of kimchi and its juice over the fish and serve immediately. .


  • 3 qts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 4 baby carrots, peeled & halved
  • 4 small red beets, peeled & sliced in ¼-inch discs
  • 4 cauliflower florets, quartered
  • ½ cup garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ cup ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 radishes, quartered
  • 3 leaves kale, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup Korean chili flakes
Steamed Fish
  • 4 (6-oz) portions of Gulf fish (white-fleshed thin drum, redfish or flounder)
  • 4 large banana leaves
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced green onion
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • Salt & pepper
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