Monday, 26 May 2008
These tasty snacks arrived in the Caribbean islands by way of South America, where they use banana leaves as a wrapper. The leaves are available, frozen, in Asian markets. To soften them for use, thaw them out and pass them over a gas flame, or place them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them.
Sauté the pork in a skillet until it is browned. Add the onion, garlic, and habanero and sauté for an additional couple of minutes. Add the remaining filling ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove and cool.
To make the dough, cut the shortening into the cornmeal using a pastry cutter or two forks. Stir in the oil and salt. Pour the boiling water over the cornmeal and mix well to form a smooth dough. Form the dough into 18 balls.
Place a ball of the dough in the center of a banana leaf and press to form a circle 1/4-inch thick. Spread 2 tablespoons of the filling in center. Fold half of the leaf over, bringing the cornmeal with it. Flatten into a rectangle, then repeat with other half of the rectangle so that the dough encloses the meat. Fold up the leaf rectangle to make a package and tie together with string.
Place in a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Remove and drain.
Serve with your favorite Caribbean hot sauce.