The use of banana leaves in the kitchen is not new. It is part of the culinary and cultural traditions of many countries. Although the leaves are very versatile, advances in technology have created alternative materials (e.g. aluminum foil and plastic). Believe it or not, nowadays banana leaves are often sidelined.
We are from Indonesia and although this country is famous for having lots of banana trees, the culinary use of banana leaves is more concentrated. On the other hand, if you move east, where we grew up, it’s almost impossible not to find banana leaves in the kitchen.
In Asia, banana leaves are still part of the daily diet. It even includes big cities like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Jakarta, and big cities in India.
We’re fans of banana leaf and we want to inspire you with its versatility.
The banana tree is native to Asia. He migrated to Africa and then to America. Basically, banana trees grow in all tropical and subtropical ranges. The leaves are large, pliable, water-resistant, and non-sticky. Apart from that, they are beautiful and always give a nice tropical touch.
It is not surprising that the natives recognize banana leaves as an opportunity to fulfill their needs and use them in various uses. Whether for culinary, decorative, therapeutic, religious, or even construction and writing purposes.
How to cook with banana leaves
Although not edible, banana leaves have a very important role in the kitchen. Almost in Southeast Asian countries every culinary process: preparation, service, consumption, and even packaging uses banana leaves.
Banana leaves can be used as:
- Wraps for steaming or baking.
Banana leaves can hold liquid food, making the perfect package for cooking anything you want, such as vegetables, fish and chicken. Although the leaves are not consumed, they have a high antioxidant content, these antioxidants are absorbed by food along with the aroma of the leaves.
- Non-stick coating for baking.
Banana leaves prevent food from sticking to the grill. In addition, the leaves have the extraordinary advantage of being porous and living elements, thus adding a pleasant sweet and smoky taste, something that aluminum foil and plastic cannot.