Yield 4 servings Time 2 hours
This sweet and spicy banana leaves rice is very versatile in that you could substitute the rice with other grains, or make use of whatever herbs, vegetables, or spices you have on hand. The options to make this banana leaves wrapped rice your own are endless; leftover cooked beans, lentil, Feta or any crumbled cheese, dill or oregano, toasted sesame or cumin would all work well. Serve with a big green salad or grilled vegetables for a complete meal.
FOR THE BANANA WRAP: 3 big banana leaves RICE MIXTURE: 4 cups of rice (brown or jasmine) 2 cups of beans (any) 1/2 cup of lentil CURRY SAUCE:
1 medium size yuca 1 small purple onion 4 gloves of garlic
1 small ginger 1 small carrot 1 small green pepper 1 small papaya Fresh oregano Yellow curry powder Cumin
Salt & Pepper Chili pepper Cinnamon Raw sugar
Boil rice mixture for 20 minute after the water comes to a boil. Al dente is what we are looking for, not too soft because we will steam it at the end.
While waiting for the rice to cook. Prepping the banana leaves by cutting them into medium rectangular pieces (about 8-10). Rinse throughly. Place damped banana leaves directly on stove top until it becomes dry and slightly softer. That way the leave won't split apart during the wrapping process.
Cut remaining banana leaves into half centimeter strips for tying the wrap later. If you have any fiber type strings could also work.
Once rice is done, transfer to a bigger bowl to cool. Mix in 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder along with some salt and pepper. So the rice is light golden yellow.
Preparing the sauce. Start with cutting yuca and carrot into small cubes. In a medium sauce pan, start low heating diced onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, green pepper with a generous amount of oil (coconut preferably). Until the aromatics softens, stir in small cubes of yuca. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until yuca softens then add in papaya in chunks. Cook for another 5 minutes then add 4 cups of water or vegetable broth. Once it comes to a boil, papaya should be easily mesh with a spoon or fork in the pan. Simmer another 15 minutes and season it with 2 tablespoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and raw sugar, handful of fresh oregano, and salt and pepper and chili pepper to taste. Curry should be thickened after the simmer, if it's too thick add more water or broth.
Set up an assembly line: banana leaves, seasoned rice mixture, yuca curry, reserved banana leaves strips, and a plate that can fit in a large pot for steaming. Now time to assemble! Take a banana leave bottom side up, put a couple spoonful of rice mixture, then yuca curry on top, be generous with the sauce, rice will soak up all the flavor. Wrap two sides in, then wrap the other two tightly, and tightened with a strip.
Stag all the neatly packaged rice on the plate and put it in a pot to steam. Little trick: put two forks on the bottom on the pot facing opposite direction, use that as a holder for the plate. Steam for 15-20 minutes and ready to served! If you have leftover sauce, it can be served next to the rice.