Variations of steamed wrapped rice purée are enjoyed throughout West Africa. Called Abala, this is much like the tamales of Mexico and the hallacas of Venezuela, though the latter are prepared from corn. A similar rice-stuffed parcel is prepared in China and parts of Southeast Asia.
Authentically, Abala is wrapped in banana leaves - the leaves impart a subtle fragrance as well as sealing in the rice mixture. Banana leaves are available frozen in Chinese food shops. Heat over the sto