Most banana leaves come ready-prepared in Asian stores and have had their spines removed. Soften the leaves first by quickly blanching them. They will impart a delicate flavour to the rice, but you can’t eat them.
Put a mound of rice on to four banana leaves. Wrap them into little parcels, but be sure to leave plenty of room for the rice to swell. Tie up carefully with strips of banana leaf.
Pop the packets into a bamboo steamer and cook over boiling water for about 2 hours. If you need to, add more water – in much the same way as you did with Christmas puddings before microwaves took over the earth.
The Malaysians call this Lontong, and it’s scrumptious with a coconut sambal.
© 1994 Keith Floyd estate. All rights reserved.