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How To Cook With Banana Leaves

How To Cook With Banana Leaves

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Throughout South East Asia and in many other tropical regions around the world, banana leaves are often used for cooking. Banana leaves are used to wrap marinated fish or meat, for grilling or sticky (glutinous) rice for boiling; similar to cooking “en papilotte”.

Often banana leaves are also used as a lining of bamboo or wooden platters or plates for food to be served on it. The brittle banana leaves however need to be heat treated (flamed over an open flame) ahead of using them in order to make them smooth, bendable and easy to work with. During that process the banana leave releases some natural oil, which also makes them fragrant and nicely shinny and glossy.

How to Prepare Banana Leaves For Cooking

  1. Cut the over sized banana leaf to the size needed, leaving the thick membrane at the one side of the leave intact.
  2. Pass over the open flame quickly, a couple of times, until the leaf turns bright green and glossy.
  3. Place the banana leave on a chopping board and cut it to the size required, ensuring that the thick membrane on the one side and the loose, wavy edges of the leaf on the other, are neatly cut off.
  4. The banana leaf is now ready to be used.

Below you can find a few recipes where you can make use of your newly prepared banana leaves:

Thomas Wenger

Born in Bern, Switzerland, Thomas followed in the footsteps of his mother and entered a three-year cooking apprenticeship program and graduating it at the age of 20. Working a few short stints in a winter ski resort and a city hotel in Basel/Switzerland during the following years he took the opportunity to work in New York in 1986.

What was originally planned as a one-year experience in New York lasted three years and went on to a global career, which led him to Australia and on to Hong Kong in 1990.

For the past 15 years, Thomas has explored South East Asia and it’s cuisines and regional specialties. He worked in some of the most exciting cities in the world – Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok and his culinary style reflects the many experiences and the people he worked with.

Throughout his career, Thomas liked the challenges and diversity of hotel operations. He recently joined a Hotel & Restaurant Management school in Manila, Philippines as Senior Culinary Faculty.

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