As its name suggests, banana leaf rice is served on large banana leaves with a selection of vegetable sides, parboiled rice, a mix of curries or dhal and papadom (deep-fried flour chips). Rasam, a tamarind-based soup, is commonly served along with the dish.
The use of the banana leaf isn’t just a mere gimmick. They’ve had a long history of use in India for a number of reasons.
“It’s more hygienic, so once they use, they throw it away,” Vishal’s owner, Susila Vaaripan, said.
It was also a readily available resource in India plus the size of the leaf also made it easy to lay out all the varied components of the banana leaf rice while adding aroma to the dish.
Susila said that each banana leaf rice must have four types of vegetables: poriel (dry), kottu (wet, often mixed with dhal), masala (spicy) and raita (made with yogurt). The different tastes and textures add to the harmony of flavours.