8 August 2011

How to use Banana Leaves – part 2 (because I found some in St. Austell!)

Yesterday’s Lunch   ~

Spicy Salmon baked in a Banana Leaf
Rice ‘n Peas
White Wine Spritzer

I was in one of my favourite shops the other day – Nature Kitchen in St, Austell and was surprised and nostalgic to find banana leaves for sale.  I have written about them before – see here for a lovely recipe whether you have a banana leaf or not - so won’t go on at too much length here other than …

1.                  Show you this picture I took in our “part time garden” in the Caribbean of a baby bananas being born,

1.                  Tell you about today’s lunch

Salmon is not, of course, a tropical fish, something I was always eager to point out to customers in the West Indies who often asked “is it fresh”.   To my mind, incidentally, a fish that has been frozen onboard soon after catching is far preferable to one that has been kept on ice for days before it reaches shore.  Still, that’s enough of that. 

Having found the banana leaves in Nature Kitchen I was eager to use them but funnily enough hadn’t got any mahi mahi or wahoo to hand.  What I did have was a piece of salmon leftover from a larger piece I had cooked for dinner yesterday.  I had planned on making my delicious Mahi Mahi baked in a Banana Leaf with Tomato, Coconut & Green Chile mentioned above but was mortified to find I had run out of creamed coconut.  I did however, find a bottle of interesting Coconut & Rum hot sauce so decided to make something up.   I picked a little fresh coriander and pulverized it with some sea salt and lime juice then stirred a little of the hot sauce.  I then diced the piece of salmon and marinated it in the resulting goo for a hour or so whilst preparing the banana leaf. 

Earlier I wrote before about softening a banana leaf by heating it over flame but I am afraid I’m cooking with electric at the moment, not my choice, so had to do it another way.  I had heard that plunging the leaf into boiling water was a good alternative but being on the tired side I just placed it in boiling water and it worked fine.

I wrapped my marinated fish in the soft leaf, tied it with a strip of leek leaf and baked it for 10 minutes in a medium hot oven.  As you can see this is another non-recipe just a guideline but it’s only here to illustrate the banana leaf situation.   My lunch looked like this … 

… and I ate it with some rice ‘n’ peas I quickly cobbled together with some leftover rice.

Using banana leaves to wrap food is common in tropical countries and a lot nicer than foil, they contribute a light grassy, maybe slightly aniseedy flavour to a dish but as I tend to use a lot of chilli I don’t usually notice it!   They can be used to wrap foods, to line a pan or a steamer, to protect food (on a BBQ for instance ) and they make a fine serving platter.  To store them wrap in a plastic and keep in the fridge for a day or two or cut into usable pieces, wrap and freeze

In other news – we saw this the other day as people were pouring into Cornwall

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debs said...

what a stunning plant!i have never seen bananas at this stage before not even in banana village !(morocco!)

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather use to grow his own bananas in central America. He would rippen them underground and we would have the perfect yellow and the most delicious.