Around the world, wherever bananas grow, its unassuming gigantic leaves have found a purpose in the culinary world. These leaves are used both to cook and serve food for communities across Asia. When used in cooking these leaves wrapped around food items act as a “mat” for barbecuing fragile fillets of fish, smaller shrimp and vegetables that may fall through the grill. They turn from a bright green to a brown when being cooked and leave your food with a pleasant grassy aroma. While the largeness, flexibility, waterproof quality and affordability has also made the banana leaf an eco-friendly option for serving food; an ancient traditional custom that dates back to thousands of years. Here are some popular Indian dishes and their recipes that are cooked in banana leaves, for you to try your hand at this weekend.
I. Rice Pankhi
Made by cooking a rice batter between banana leaves, this Gujarati dish is perhaps the most popular one cooked with banana leaves and both a visual and aromatic treat. While pankhis made with rice flour batter are the most common many other varieties in a range of other flours are also prevalent. Light on the stomach, pankhis are easy to digest and ideal for weight watchers and diabetics! To view the recipe click here.
Don’t want to cook? You can try one of the best pankhis in the city at Swati Snacks for INR 190. Image Credit: Tarla Dalal
II. Patra Ni Macchi
A Gujrati and Parsi fusion dish, having been created from the Persian love for meat and Indian love for sweet and sour mixtures, this one is an absolute delight. What’s more this protein rich main course dish served with green pudhina chutney and wrapped in steamy hot banana leaves can be cooked in almost twelve minutes flat! To view the recipe click here.
Don’t want to cook? You can try one of the best patra ni macchi in the city at Britannia And Company for INR 850. Image Credit: India Times
III. Damni Dhokla
A nutritious Gujarati savoury dish that combines dals and parboiled rice. While authentically its preparation requires the dals to be washed, soaked, dried and ground, making it an authentic though slow procedure, you can always use ready-made flour available in stores in case you are in dearth of time and patience. Traditionally made in an almond or banana leaf cone these dhoklas make for a wholesome tea-time snack. To view the recipe click here.
Don’t want to cook? You can try one of the best dhoklas in the city at Trupti Farsan for INR 20.
IV. Maacher Paturi
A traditional Bengali recipe made with fish, this dish is marinated in mustard paste, wrapped in a banana leaf parcel and then steam cooked. A finger-licking option for special occasions! To view recipe click here.
Don’t want to cook? You can try one of the best maacher paturis in the city at Calcutta Clubfor INR 280.
V. Machcha Patropoda
This is a delicious Odiya fish dish that is marinated with a generous amount of masala and wrapped in a banana leaf. Cooked for a few minutes till it’s soft and flaky this a must for all fish lovers! To view the recipe click here. Image Credit: NDTV
V. Hittu or Kabdu
A typical Konkani preparation that serves idlis in a banana or jackfruit leaf baskets, this is a dish that requires both skill and patience. Usually served with coconut chutney or sambar as a wholesome breakfast this is a must for all idli lovers! To view the recipe click here.
VI. Paneer Bhapa Snacks
This is unique Bengali snack, which gets an inimitable flavour by virtue of cottage cheese being cooked inside banana leaf pockets. Marinated in lemon juice it is coated with a tongue-tickling masala of coconut and mustard, and cooked in in banana leaves till the flavours fuse. This one is usually served as scrumptious appetizer! To view the recipe click here.
Don’t want to cook? You can try one of the best paneer bhapa snacks in the city at Oh! Calcutta for INR 355.