1 whole bandeng (milkfish) or substitute sea bass or mackerel (about 700 g)
6 tbs. grated coconut, fried in a dry pan until golden brown and pounded till fine
100 ml thick coconut milk from coconut
2 eggs, beaten
banana leaves, or substitute foil
2 tsp. coriander seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 cm fresh gangale (lengkuas)
2 tsp. sugar
salt to taste
Scale and gut the fish through the gills. Wash the fish inside and out and dry thoroughly with kitchen towel paper.
Carefully pound the fish with the flat of a large knife. Massage it hard all over in order to release the meat from the skin.
Remove the backbone of the fish but leave tail and head in place: bend the tail towards the head until you feel the bone snap. Carefully pull out the bone through the gill-opening. Take care not to break the skin anywhere.
Press out all the meat through the gill-opening by pressing the fish with a spoon from the tail-end towards the head.
Turn over the skin by pushing the tail towards the head. Remove the bones then push the tail back through the head opening. Flake the meat and fry in a dry pan for a few minutes, then remove all the tiny bones from the meat. Mix the meat with the grated coconut, coconut milk, beaten eggs and the pounded Spice-paste. Blend till smooth. The consistency should be like soft butter.
Put the stuffing back inside the fish through the gill-opening. Sew up the opening after stuffing the fish. Wrap in a banana leaf and secure the ends. Steam until done, approximately 15-20 minutes. Unwrap and grill over a barbecue or in the oven until brown before serving.
Note: Choose a freshly caught milkfish, because the skin would tear easily in a fish that has been lying around for a while.
Makes 3-4 servings.