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Banana Leaves


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Sorry to create a whole new forum for this, but does anyone know where to buy banana leaves in the DC area? I am going to cook some slow roast pork shoulder with achiote paste, and the leaves are essential.

thanks!

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Some Whole Foods locations have 'em. I know I've seen them in Old Town and out at the Fair Lakes store. That said, it sounds like you're making a recipe very similar to one I've done many times, and I don't think you'd be missing out on much flavor if you just wrapped it all up in foil rather than the leaves.

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Try the freezer aisle where the frozen goya goods usually are at any major grocery store. Even my obnoxious Giant carries them. Also try any Latino or Asian market.
Yeah, I know my local SuperEE/Grande/Whatever Korean-Mexican mart has lots of banana leaves in their frozen aisle. Probably cheaper than Giant as well.
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On rare occasions, I have found fresh banana leaves at Magruder's stores in VA, but I don't go to them very often, and I don't always find them when I do. I think it's pretty much of a fluke to find them fresh, but you can always find frozen ones at latin and asian markets.

I use them for tamales on occasion, and cochinita or pollo pibil, which it sounds like is what you are making--marinated with achiote, sour orange and onion and cooked in a banana leaf wrapper, the pre-industrial aluminum foil. I also use banana leaf wrapper for barbacoa de cabrito, which is goat shoulder marinated in a red chile adobo or mole rojo and steamed. For the goat dish I also use dried avocado leaves, which are harder to find than frozen banana leaves.

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On rare occasions, I have found fresh banana leaves at Magruder's stores in VA, but I don't go to them very often, and I don't always find them when I do. I think it's pretty much of a fluke to find them fresh, but you can always find frozen ones at latin and asian markets.

I use them for tamales on occasion, and cochinita or pollo pibil, which it sounds like is what you are making--marinated with achiote, sour orange and onion and cooked in a banana leaf wrapper, the pre-industrial aluminum foil. I also use banana leaf wrapper for barbacoa de cabrito, which is goat shoulder marinated in a red chile adobo or mole rojo and steamed. For the goat dish I also use dried avocado leaves, which are harder to find than frozen banana leaves.

Just don't do what I did and decide you may as well use the whole package because what else are you going to do with the rest anyway? It was WAY too banana leaf flavor! Gag!
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Just don't do what I did and decide you may as well use the whole package because what else are you going to do with the rest anyway? It was WAY too banana leaf flavor! Gag!

Thanks for the tip! Do you think the leaves are essential for this, or is foil fine. I have heard different theories.

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Thanks for the tip! Do you think the leaves are essential for this, or is foil fine. I have heard different theories.

It'll work--you can use foil only, but then you lose an aspect of complexity in the flavor that is provided by the banana leaf. What I do is lay down a sheet of aluminum foil, put a banana leaf on top of the foil, then the avocado leaves on top of the banana leaf and then put the marinated meat on top of that. Then, I fold the banana leaf over the meat and seal it all up in aluminum foil. That way, I have the best of all worlds. I have the flavor added by the banana leaf, and the leakproof package of the foil.

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