Ti-Leaf Baked Mahimahi

Mama's Fish House Executive Chef Perry Bateman is creating a dish just for us: mahimahi wrapped and baked in ti leaves. While he’s kind enough to share the recipe, he’s a fan of experimentation. For example, he says, this technique also works with other types of fish. “The richer the fish, the less butter or oil you have to add. The leaner the fish, the more butter or oil you may want — but the more you use, the more citrus juice you will want to add to balance the flavor and richness. “Experiment with your favorite vegetables, herbs, and other ingredients, such as mushrooms, cooked artichoke hearts, capers, olives, basil or fermented black beans. Shrimp, chorizo or Chinese sausage can amp it up even more,” he says. “You get the drift. Be creative and have fun.”


Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking time: Approximately 15 minutes


  • 2 sheets of foil, 16×18 inches each
  • kosher salt & fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 small Hawaiian chili pepper, minced
  • 1 Tahitian lime (or other citrus such as calamansi, Meyer’s lemon, tangerine)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons Yamasa shoyu (less salty than other brands)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh curly parsley or Chinese parsley (cilantro), washed and minced
  • 2 6- to 8-ounce mahimahi fillets
  • 6 ti leaves, stems removed & steamed or microwaved
  • 1 minute (Keeps leaves from burning during cooking)
  • 1 baby bok choy, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups kale, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup won bok (Napa) cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 heirloom tomato, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 small Maui onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons scallions (green onion), sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup ‘ulu (breadfruit) or potato, peeled and steamed until cooked, chilled and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup purple Moloka‘i sweet potato, peeled, steamed, chilled and cubed into 1-inch pieces

Procedure: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. For each serving: Lay out 1 sheet of foil, cut the ti leaves into 1-foot lengths, and place 2 leaf sections on the foil with points facing away from you and the sides slightly overlapping. Lay 1 ti leaf horizontally across the middle of the vertical ti leaves. Mix the chopped kale, baby bok choy and cabbage in a bowl. Place 1 cup of the mixed greens in the middle of the ti leaves. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of fresh Tahitian lime juice.

Lightly season both sides of the fish with salt, pepper, and a dusting of paprika. Place fillet on top of the greens, then drizzle fish with half the soy sauce. Circle the fish with julienne onions, cherry tomatoes, cooked ‘ulu (or potatoes) and sweet potato. Place 1 tablespoon butter on top of the fish, then top with half the sliced heirloom tomato and 1 lime wheel. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of scallions. Mix garlic, ginger and chili pepper; sprinkle half the mixture over the fish. Drizzle generously with olive oil and a squeeze of fresh Tahitian lime, and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Fold the foil up on all sides to create a square packet, crimping the edges together for an airtight seal. This creates a steam chamber for the fish to cook in. Any hole in the foil will lengthen cooking time and result in dry fish. If you make a hole, lay down another piece of foil, place the whole package in the middle and wrap again. Place packets in the oven and cook about 15 minutes. Take care when opening the packet, since that will release the hot steam. Check to see whether the fish is cooked to your preference; if not, reseal foil and let it rest on the counter for a few minutes. It will continue to steam and cook.

Plating: Remove the cooked lime wheel and add a fresh one for a bright presentation. Sprinkle some parsley on top. Carefully grasp the top and bottom edges of the vertical ti leaves and lift the portion out of the foil. Place in a serving bowl. Drizzle remaining sauce from foil over the fish and vegetables . . . that’s the good stuff.


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