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Monday Bowl-Lunch 6

A Srilankan meal with Rice, Dhal curry, Beans cooked in Coconut milk, Pineapple chutney and a Spicy chicken served on Banana leaves.

Should have thought of this before?

Just imagine, no washing or cleaning up.

I’m in the habit of reading up on certain ingredients used in the recipes as well as the history behind it. Here’s what Wikipedia says, please keep in mind these are direct quotes from the source itself and the authenticity of the customs are not verified by me.

“Banana leaf meals are eaten by hand. Banana leaf meal etiquette also dictates that, after the meal, the guest must always fold the banana leaf inwards as a sign of gratitude to the host, even when the host is the proprietor of an eatery. However, when meals are served at funeral wakes, the leaf is folded outwards as a sign of condolence to the family of the deceased. Due to this, folding the leaf outwards is considered rude in any other circumstance. In Malaysia, some Malaysians of non-Indian origin sometimes fold their banana leaf outward as a sign of dissatisfaction with an eatery’s banana leaf meal. This is due to the erroneous belief that folding the leaf inwards or outwards is a way of rating the meal.”

I’ve also found out that when meals are served on them, the heat of the food releases a compound named polyphenols, the same you find in Green tea. This substance is an antioxidant and helps to fight certain diseases.

Now, this is what confuses me, this practice of eating on Banana leaves dates back to thousands of years, how could they have possibly known?

Was it just the idea of practicality, the leaves being waterproof and they were clueless about the curing properties within it. What do you think?

I’m leaning towards the latter.

I have this slightly vague scene but clear details of a beach, seated on a mat under the shade of some coconut trees, having a home-cooked lunch pack, wrapped in newspaper. The clear details that I’m surprised to remember, is the feeling of discomfort because of the sand in unmentionable places, hair sticky with Sand and Salt. A slight burning sensation on my nose,(sunburn). I’m writing these details as they come to my mind, surprising isn’t it, how certain food triggers a memory?

Recipe time

Please make sure to read the recipe at least once before preparing to cook.

Rice served First, find recipe here.

Followed by Dhal curry, you can do a variation by reducing the Coconut milk and making it a Dhal fry, recipe here.

I’ve used the Dry bean curry but added Coconut milk and replacing Pepper with chilli flecks. Recipe here.

A bit of sweetness is added with a Pineapple chutney. Find recipe here.

Then a Chicken curry. Find recipe here.

Now there’s so much heat on that plate, I included a spoonful of Yoghurt to bring it down.

Until next Monday, Enjoy and hope you have a wonderful week.

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Razena |

Monday 12th of October 2015

The sitting on the beach under the tree memory made me giggle. I've had a few meals cooked in banana leaves and it imparts both a moistness and certain aroma. I always wondered what exactly that was, but it seems you've identified it as polyphenols. Alhamdulillah it's also good for you :)


Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Thank you Razena. We do the eating on banana leaf thing quite often around here, it just give that extra touch of love and hominess to the meal. It does add flavour to the meal and the best part is there's no cleaningâ˜ș.

Brian Lageose

Monday 12th of October 2015

Very interesting information on banana leaf etiquette. I wonder how many other situations there might be out there, where my ignorance concerning proper consumption procedures leads to my offending an entire culture? Hmm. As for certain foods triggering a memory, I get that a lot, with specific tastes or even the smell of a particular food will send me to places long ago and far away...


Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Hi Brian, I think there will always be someone to point out the customs if need be. And yes, it seems to happen to more often now, certain taste and some of the food preparation tends to bring back memories from the past.

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