Ingredient 1: Banana Leaf

Aromatic Tofu Packets

I bought the banana leaves when we returned from Vietnam. I’d seen them used as plates in South India many times but Vietnam was the first time I’d seen them used as part of the cooking process – used as a parcel filled with tofu and vegetables and baked. I got them in the little shop just across the road, source of many of my ingredients this month. It has South Indian owners but caters for a large hospital nearby so has ingredients from Vietnam, Fiji, Malaysia, the Philippines and other places too.

As per all the ingredients in this VeganMoFo project, the banana leaves just hung about the freezer for ages, until I got a new cookbook recently, Herbivoracious. This lovely book includes a recipe that looked very similar to the versions we ate in Vietnam so I decided to try it.

It was very easy to make and perfect for guests as you can make the parcels in advance and just bake them as you’re ready to eat. I would use more spice next time, but the banana leaf imparted a lovely gentle flavour that I would have struggled to identify but could certainly tell was there.

The first day of MoFo was definitely a success and I’d both make this again, and look for other ways to use banana leaves. Have you cooked with them? What did you make?

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6 thoughts on “Ingredient 1: Banana Leaf

  1. That looks yummy! I am on the wait list at the library for that book, maybe I’ll have to look for some banana leaves for when I finally get my hands on it.

  2. I’ve used them for tamales before. I have a banana tree in the back yard and I have been wondering if any banana leaf is good to use in food or if it’s just a certain kind. My tree is just decorative although my partner keeps hoping for bananas. I’m glad to see you liked the recipe, I have Herbivoracious but I still haven’t tried anything.

  3. awesome! I’ve seen banana leaves in the Latino markets here, and they’ve been on the back of my mind ever since. I saw something on a blog once about bananas wrapped in a layer of sweetened coconut sticky rice, and then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled. I have never stopped thinking about that.

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