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fresh banana leaves

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  • Daniel C May 3, 2002 08:21 PM
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I'm planning to wrap a whole salmon with herbs and lemon with banana leaves, then wrap the whole thing in foil, and roast/steam the beast over an open flame. This will be done sometime in June at a friend's house.

I've never used nor purchased fresh banana leaves. I imagine they'd be avaliable at Mexican or Southeast Asian markets, but which ones? Any suggestions of good places to find a ready supply? (I'm in Pasadena, and my friend is in Huntington Beach, so I'm prepared to purchase them in or near one area or the other.) How much should I buy? Is one leafy layer around the salmon enough, or should it be multiple layers? Any tips on cleaning and prepping them?

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  1. Given the abundance of banana trees in So Cal, if it were me , I would just help myself to a leaf or two -- I've never seen them for sale in any supermarket (including Gelson's, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, et al) as they are ENORMOUS -- I would imagine 1 would suffice but given the number of trees around, grab 2 -- you'll need to cut out the center rib that runs the length of each leaf or else it will be too rigid to wrap around anything.
    You couldn't hurt anything (they're really sturdy) by giving them a good scrub w/ tepid water and a little Ivory liquid to rid them of years' worth of smog, birds, etc. Just be sure to rinse them well.
    Bon Appetit!
    : )
    Lara

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lara

      Banana leaves can be found in the frozen food section of Latin markets. I've also seen them in Vietnamese and Thai markets as well. Once you get them home, you'll need to completely thaw the package so the leaves can be unfolded without tearing.

      1. re: mdub

        Thank you for your post.
        I had no idea they were available in the frozen section -- you truly do learn something every day -- but, why buy frozen when there are so many fresh just waiting to be used?
        : )