So we went to Whole Foods recently in search of banana leaves. Wait? Did I hear you right? Yes, I said banana leaves. Recently through switching to cast iron, Frank and I discovered that I am highly sensitive and possibly allergic to aluminum. I stopped using aluminum deodorant long ago, but I didn’t think to eliminate it from my kitchen or to look for its other forms in other body products. We’ve begun to make those changes and are getting used to looking for aluminum—in all its forms.
So anyway, since I can’t use aluminum anymore, I had to think of an alternative. I realized that in India, they use banana leaves, and those work just fine! Better than fine, since they don’t have any negative health effects. You can use them to wrap poultry, fish, or meat. And they are used mostly for baking. But where to get banana leaves in America?
Since we were near Whole Foods around the time I thought of this. We checked there first, but they only used banana leaves in the sushi department to set the fish on. Kind of as a decoration. I asked the customer service guy if they would sell some to me, and he ended up just giving me some, but they weren’t really enough for what I needed them for.
I wanted to wrap this little chicken up to bake him in the oven, but I ended up just using my dutch oven instead.
It didn’t really turn out the same, since it should have been on a platter wrapped in banana leaves. In the end, the marinade/paste was too wet, so I just made a broth with it and it became more of a stew thing, which is why I didn’t post the recipe and it looks like I didn’t cook anything this week. But anyway!
If you see Whole Foods starting to sell banana leaves as an alternative to aluminum foil—that was ME!
***UPDATE: After looking first at Whole Foods, I found out I could get banana leaves in a giant pack for $1.49 at my local Indian grocer. I’m glad to have a reliable source!
Have you ever used banana leaves? Would you make the switch from aluminum?
See how we cooked quail with banana leaves HERE.
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