Banana leaves are used for cooking, wrapping and food serving in a wide range of cuisines in tropical and subtropical Africa.
How to Cook With Banana Leaves
|Selling banana leaf wraps in Africa|
Banana leaves impart an aroma to food that is cooked in or served on them; steaming with banana leaves imparts a subtle sweet flavor and aroma to the dish. The leaves are not themselves eaten and are discarded after the food is eaten. Besides adding flavor, banana leaves are perfect for cooking cook fish, vegetables, rice or just about anything.
Banana leaves are used for baking wrapped food in the same way you would use tin foil or parchment paper. It is important to know banana leaf packets should be placed in a baking dish so the juices don't drip to the bottom of your oven.
How to Cut Banana Leaves
Use scissors to cut banana leaves into the size you need, depending on your recipe. For wrapping and baking food items, you will need a large leaf. Place enough for one serving in the center of the leaf, and then fold like a handkerchief to make a square packet and tie with string or a long strip of banana leaf.
|Coconut Fish and Rice Banana Leaf Recipe|
How to Make Banana Leaf Wraps
Coconut Fish and Rice Banana Leaf Recipe
4 small any fish fillet
2 cups any rice
4 ripe bananas, peeled, halved lengthways, then crossways
½ cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large banana leaves
In a saucepan add rice, stir in the coconut milk and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until the coconut milk has been absorbed and the rice is thick and sticky. Cool for 5-10 minutes.
Soften the banana leaves by microwaving for a few minutes. Place one heaping tablespoon of cooled rice in the center of the leaf. Next, add a single piece of banana, followed by 1 fish fillet then another tablespoon of rice on top, fold the sides of the leaves over and tie. Repeat with the remaining banana leaves, fish, rice and banana.
Half-fill a large steamer or saucepan with water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Place the finished banana leaves in steamer basket, and set it over the pan of water. Steam for 30 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy.