Taro Leaves in Coconut Cream
30 taro leaves or spinach leaves
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup canned coconut cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
banana leaves and breadfruit leaves
or aluminium foil for wrapping
Wash taro or spinach well in cold water, remove stems and any tough veins. Blanch spinach leaves briefly just long enough to soften or boil taro leaves for 45 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Wash and dry banana leaves. With a sharp knife remove any portion of thick mid rib that remains and cut the leaves into 20 cm (8 in) squares. Pass each one over a low flame to make them pliable or they will split when folded. On each square of banana leaf place some of the spinach or taro leaves. Spoon some coconut cream seasoned with salt onto the centre, and make a parcel of the leaves, enclosing them in the banana leaf. Finally wrap in breadfruit leaves or large squares of aluminium foil.
Place in a steamer and steam for 1 hour, or bake in a moderate oven. If using spinach, 15 minutes cooking time will be enough.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)