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Kingfish with Green Chilli and Herbs on Betel Leaves

This recipe comes to us from the kitchen of  John Macleay, Executive Chef/Red Spice Group.

John was a regular instructor at the Neff Market Kitchen Cooking School which closed in May 2020.




  • 8 med-large betel leaves
  • 200 g hiramasa kingfish, skinned and de-boned
  • Half green chilli, seeded and sliced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • coriander, chopped
  • 3 mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 cm piece lemongrass, minced
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
  • ½ tbsp crispy fried shallots

Green chilli dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 small handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 large green chillies, seeded and chopped finely
  • 2 red shallots, finely sliced
  • 40 g palm sugar, grated
  • 75 ml fish sauce
  • 100 ml lime juice



In a bowl mix together all the ingredients apart from the betel leaves. Moisten with some green chilli dressing.

Place a small amount on each of the betel leaves and garnish with some fish roe and finely sliced kaffir lime.


Green chilli dressing

In a mortar and pestle pound the coriander, shallots, garlic and chillies into a rough paste. Add the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice, mix well and allow to sit for 10 mins.

Makes 8.




John Macleay
Executive Chef/Red Spice Group
John’s culinary adventures through Asia began in his twenties on a trip to Thailand. Returning to Melbourne, his home town, he started his career as an apprentice at the Australia Hotel. Extensive experience followed at restaurants including Livebait under Cath Claringbold’s mentorship, Botanical, No 3 Station Pier and the Establishment. John accepted the reins at Red Spice Road in late 2007, quickly cementing his reputation with The Age Epicure lauding his food as ‘uniformly impressive’. His next position was to establish Spice Road QV and more currently, Burma Lane. John has proudly contributed and shared his knowledge through the William Angliss Great Chef’s program and Hanoi’s KOTO (Know One to Teach One). His proudest achievement has been the publishing of his cookbooks, namely, The Red Spice Road Cookbook, Bits on Sticks and The Road to QV. As the Red Spice Group Executive Chef, he travels regularly to South East Asia to further his knowledge in traditional methods and ingredients, returning to design and adapt dishes for his restaurant menus.

Red Spice Road
27 McKillop St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: 9603 1601

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