Saturday, June 26, 2010

Peruvian Rice Bundles with Chicken and Peanuts (Juanes de Arroz)

So I finally made my way downtown to get banana leaves.  I had purchased them on one prior occasion in Philadelphia, because I thought they looked cool, but never used them.  I found these at the Laotian market on Reservoir Avenue which, by the way, is a really neat store.
I set aside Thursday morning to make these.  The recipe starts with a tomato sauce made with onions, chiles, garlic, turmeric, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper (instinctively I reduced the salt by a third because I have found the recipes in this book over-salty).   I cooked two chicken legs in this sauce, then removed the chicken and cooked 1 1/4 cups of rice in it.  After the rice absorbed all of the sauce (plus some extra water), I set it aside to cool and then mixed in two beaten eggs.
To assemble the dumplings, I cut a couple of rectangles from the banana leaf (which was more flexible than I'd expected, though prone to splitting along the leaf veins) and laid them flat.  I spooned a third-cup of the rice mixture onto one of the leaf rectangles and spread it into a circle.  I topped that with a quarter of the shredded chicken meat, a tablespoon of peanuts, followed by another two-thirds cup of rice.  Finally I shaped it all into a little bundle, drawing the banana leaf around the filling on the sides like a letter fold, and then folding down the top and bottom, wrapping the second leaf around that, and tying it all up with string and a bow.  These steamed for one hour - which I think might have been too long.
I remember reading about banana leaves smelling bad as they cooked, but I thought they smelled like pumpkin.  These dumplings were tasty, still a little too salty, a bit dry (because I used long grain rice instead of medium) but I think the negatives were balanced by the coolness of being served on banana leaves.


Anonymous said...

Sorry but not even close,no peanuts,no tomato and not banana leaves.
Raul Juarez, iquitos Peru

Anonymous said...

I agree ,destroyed part of my Amazon culture lol