One of the greatest things I ever did was take cooking classes while living in Bangkok, Thailand. I took two classes at The Blue Elephant and as part of the AM cooking class we went to the local market and was introduced to some of the most gorgeous ingredients. Our instructor, gosh I can’t remember his name, bought us all some street food on our way back to class; it was some meat and sticky rice in a little parcel. It was delicious.
Lately, I have had this dish on my mind, and though I never learned to officially cook it I figured I had enough know how to figure it out. Below is my recipe for what I am calling steamed banana leaf parcels with marinated chicken and sticky rice.
What you will need:
Banana leaves, washed and cut into square pieces
2-3 cups of sticky rice, soaked for at least 20 minutes
1-2 boneless/skinless chicken breast
5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 fermented soya beans, drained and rinsed
1 T dark soy sauce
2 T light soy sauce
1-2 T oyster sauce
1 T fish sauce
1/2 cayenne pepper
1/2 of a lime, just the juice
1-2 T granulated white sugar
6 T H2O
What you will do:
1. Make your marinade by combining all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Slice chicken breast into thin strips, add to marinade and refrigerate for about 20 minutes or up to 1 day. Soak the sticky rice for at least 20 minutes or longer.
2. While rice is soaking and chicken is marinating, prepare the banana leaves. Wash and cut into square-shaped pieces. Using tongs, “cook” the banana leaf over a flame. This will make the banana leaf more plyable and easy to work with. The water in the banana leaf steams and softens it. Do this with all your banana leaves and set aside.
3. Drain sticky rice and assemble parcels. Put a layer of sticky rice on a banana leaf and then add some of the marinated chicken also adding some of the liquid marinade. Fold up the banana leaf and use toothpicks to hold in place. Assemble all of your parcels.
4. Prepare your steamer by bring water to the boil. Add all of your parcels to the steamer and steam for 20-30 minutes or until rice is translucent. Serve while warm.
This dish is what I would consider to be a snack. It was often sold on the streets of Thailand as a grab and go food. The nice thing about this dish is you can let your creative side shine through by adding other ingredients to the sticky rice. For a vegetarian version, you could use mushrooms, spinach or other leafy green and different types of squash instead of meat. Pumpkin might be nice as well. The possibilities are really endless.
I hope you like this recipe. It is an easy dish to make. Don’t worry about making your parcels all the same shape…they steam just the same.
Cheers and happy eating!