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Banana Recipes How do you prepare your bananas? Share your banana and plantain recipes here. Banana bread, nuclear tostones, banana pudding, banana custard, banana pie, fried bananas, banana ice cream, banana butter, plantain soup, banana chips, banana wines, banana smoothies... and more!


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Old 07-13-2007, 08:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Banana leaves in cooking

I notice some people use banana leaves to cook with, wrapping fish and meats etc...

Why is this done? Does it give a certain flavour or texture to foods? Or is it more of an exotic flare, for show at dinner parties and stuff?

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Old 07-13-2007, 09:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Hi Joe,
I can't say if they (banana leaves ) add flavor but I can say for certain that they are used extensively anywhere that they are grown .
We humans , being so resourceful, use whatever is available and economical in our food prep.
Take tamales , for example . My family has used corn shucks / husks to encase their tamales for cooking for as long as anyone can remember .
When I asked why , I was told simply that they were always available .
I lived in belize for just over a year and in Panama for a little over two years and every tamale I ate was encased in , you guessed it , banana leaves . Why? , There was no corn being grown in the regions and banana plants were everywhere . I have also had fish ,rice , iguana ,prawn ,cayman and iguana eggs that were prepared wrapped in banana leaves ,cooked on beds of coals,with coals placed on top .
I use them in dishes here(When entertaining) . Not because they are practicle but more for the exotic flare that you asked about .
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

I don't think they add flavor, rather they are like a natural form of parchment paper, used to seal in moisture. Growing leafs is actually on of my main objectives for growing bananas. I hope to learn how to use them on the grill. I think they are used alot for steaming.
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Thanks for the info guys!

~Joe
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

I was watching "Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern " on The Travel Channel and they were showing banana leaves in a mexican market . They also used them with some red snapper and claimed that they added a nutty taste to the fish . Thay also had what appeared to be wax paper ...it was layers of agave leaves . They just peel of the (outer?) layers to get this 'parchment'.
The show will replay tommorow @ 4:00 and they will have other episodes as well . There will be one from the Philipines ,Taiwan , Trinidad and Tobago ,Alaska , and Spain . These start At 2:00 central and the Mexico episode is at 4:00 and again at 8:00 central on The Travel Channel
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

I've done Salmon wrapped in a banana leaf on the grill and it was wonderful! Although it pains me to cut a leaf off just to cook something.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagniappe View Post
Hi Joe,
I can't say if they (banana leaves ) add flavor but I can say for certain that they are used extensively anywhere that they are grown .
We humans , being so resourceful, use whatever is available and economical in our food prep.
Take tamales , for example . My family has used corn shucks / husks to encase their tamales for cooking for as long as anyone can remember .
When I asked why , I was told simply that they were always available .
I lived in belize for just over a year and in Panama for a little over two years and every tamale I ate was encased in , you guessed it , banana leaves . Why? , There was no corn being grown in the regions and banana plants were everywhere . I have also had fish ,rice , iguana ,prawn ,cayman and iguana eggs that were prepared wrapped in banana leaves ,cooked on beds of coals,with coals placed on top .
I use them in dishes here(When entertaining) . Not because they are practicle but more for the exotic flare that you asked about .

That makes me want to try making tamales with banana leaves. I'll bet they steam up great!
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Old 11-10-2007, 09:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

yes, bananas add a particular delicate taste to dishes. I use it to cook many types of rice recipes. I grew up with the taste and I KNOW it does impart a taste and aroma that unless you are familiar with it, it will pass unnoticed. The taste is now is here and now is not. Aroma is the same. like "embrace me, you won't have me forever."
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Old 11-29-2007, 06:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

I agree with Carmensol. Banana leaves impart a very unique taste whether in fish or rice or what you are cooking.
It is more like your cooking becomes special if they are wrapped or put above the banana leaves while cooking.
So we only do that on special occasions like wedding or Christmas feasts.
It also make the guests envy you for using banana leaves because they are hard to get and just like Anna said, it pains her to cut a part of her precious plant.
It can also be used as decorative while serving dishes on finest Oriental restaurants overseas.
Last Thanksgiving Day my wife asked me if she could have some banana leaves for cooking and I hate to disappoint her but I did. That's how much give importance to my bananas than to our guests.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Hi everyone - green banana here.
Banana leaves do indeed provide a flavor to the foods when used.
I always donate all my banana fronds to those where I live that use them for cooking. The use around here is tamales and fish.
The frond serves many uses and several of you have mentioned. Please remember to recycle fronds that have been removed to those who could use them. Its the green thing to do.
Thanks ,
ROBAN
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Does anyone have any information on varietal choices and use of banana leaves? Are all varieties considered to be equivalent, or are there preferred varieties based on... taste, leaf size, leaf stiffness, genotype, etc.?

I'll probably never get ripe fruit in my climate, but if I'm trimming for winter storage I might as well give the leaves to co-workers from cultures that use the leaves in cooking, and if basjoo leaves are acceptable, I could plant boatloads of them and harvest during the year without as much guilt...
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:58 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Hi Keith, I know a chef here who likes to grill fish wrapped in nana leaves. I never heard anyone specify what kind --- just 'banana leaves'.
YES, you can get ripe fruit where you are... I did last year w/ ice cream! And so did Bob in New Jersey.
Where is "Snohomish county"? never heard of that.
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

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Originally Posted by AnnaJW View Post
That makes me want to try making tamales with banana leaves. I'll bet they steam up great!
We have something similar in Puerto Rico (also Dominican Republic and a few other locations) called "pasteles". It's not the corn meal used in tamales, it's ground up green bananas, green plantain, pumpkins, and elephant ear tubers mashed into a paste and filled with meat (cubed pork or chicken or beef or even cornedbeef) all wrapped up a banana leaf (softened by passing the leaf over fire) and wax paper and boiled. One can substitute the wax paper with aluminum foil BUT you can't substitute the banana leaf - it actually adds flavor. You discard the leaf before eating.



Same goes with some steamed rice. Adding a banana leaf on top while it's steaming adds some flavor ( you remove the leaf once it's done ).
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty in Wisc View Post
Where is "Snohomish county"? never heard of that.
Northeast of Seattle, in the foothills of the cascades. We get our fair share of snow, and more than our fair share of rain

I was thinking that the range of acceptable banana leaves might be like grape leaves- I have a middle eastern friend that is pretty picky about what types of grape leaves are best for using in their cultural cooking.

Best,
Keith
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Is there anything special one has to do to the leaves once they are harvested?
I've seen some YouTube stuff where they seem to scorch the leaves. One soaks them. I want to pick a few and travel with them for a chef to use. Can I just harvest. Stack em and voila?
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Old 09-03-2017, 07:36 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

back in the 70s I was told you could smoke em much like maryhoochie. maybe THAT is why the food tastes so good.....................................don't eat and drive.

maybe that is why everyone seems so happy in this thread.

Last edited by beam2050 : 09-03-2017 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:03 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strong bird farm View Post
Is there anything special one has to do to the leaves once they are harvested?
I've seen some YouTube stuff where they seem to scorch the leaves. One soaks them. I want to pick a few and travel with them for a chef to use. Can I just harvest. Stack em and voila?
Yes... you have to soften the leaves by passing them through fire (at least that's the method we use in our cooking)... whether or not it's necessary, I don't know. We've just always done this to the leaves.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltPPM_2rChQ
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by beam2050 View Post
back in the 70s I was told you could smoke em much like maryhoochie. maybe THAT is why the food tastes so good.....................................don't eat and drive.

maybe that is why everyone seems so happy in this thread.
You still can... lol. In fact, in the prisons throughout Puerto Rico, they serve bananas without the skin because inmates can dry the skin and smoke it. In some countries, they use the banana leaves to make a "blunt" rather than using tobacco rollers. But there are far better uses like making a tea (health benefits) and even using it to dress wounds.
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:34 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana leaves in cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniPerez View Post
You still can... lol. In fact, in the prisons throughout Puerto Rico, they serve bananas without the skin because inmates can dry the skin and smoke it. In some countries, they use the banana leaves to make a "blunt" rather than using tobacco rollers. But there are far better uses like making a tea (health benefits) and even using it to dress wounds.
all right! nest time I go to the hospital I am going to ask for medical bananas. then I will start singing;

my sweet lord
hm my lord
hm my lord
I really want to see you lord
oh my lord... hallelujah
oh my lord... hare Krishna
my sweet lord... hare rama
I really want to see you lord but it takes so long my lord...hallelujah
my my lord...hallelujah


George Harrison....my sweet lord

so if you ever go to jail insist on eating the bananas, take few to your bunk

Last edited by beam2050 : 09-05-2017 at 06:20 PM.
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