Chicken & Coconut in Banana Leaves

Total Time
1hr 45mins
Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr

An American version of a tradional Papua New Guinean technique of wrapping parcels of food in banana leaves. Serve with beer or a crisp, white wine.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together soy sauce, barbecue sauce, ginger and coconut milk.
  3. Place chicken drumsticks, thighs, plantain, and sweet potato in a bowl and pour over the marinade. Marinate 30 minutes.
  4. Gently warm the whole banana leaf over a fire or gas burner until the leaf is pliable but not burnt, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Cut the leaf into four large squares, measuring at least 30 x 30 cm. Carefully cut four long, thin strips from the rib of the leaf, these will be used as 'string' to tie the packets later.
  6. Place a piece of chicken onto each banana leaf square and evenly divide the vegetables on top. Pour in any remaining marinade and fold the leaves around the chicken like you are wrapping a present.
  7. Securely tie with the rib strips and place the packets onto a baking sheet.
  8. Bake in preheated oven until the chicken is tender and no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour. Check the packets occasionally to make sure they do not burn.
Most Helpful

I'm on the fence on this one. I really liked the marinade, but once the chicken cooked the flavor wasn't very pronounced. The sweet potato absorbed the flavors really well, and the chicken didn't. Perhaps it was something I did, and I'd like to try this one again. Like Muffin Goddess, I didn't do individual packets but rather wrapped the entire thing in really large banana leaf and tied it with string. Placed it in a 9x13 pan and presto. Made for ZWT8 Australia - Team Om Nom Nommers

Jostlori August 09, 2012

I love the flavor that banana leaves give to the food that's wrapped in them. I liked the flavors in the sauce, but I did find that it needed some salt. I was really short on prep time, so instead of wrapping individual bundles, I just wrapped the whole lot in a big dutch oven. Because it was a larger mass of food, the chicken was cooked after 1 hour, but the veggies weren't quite done. I removed the chicken and kept it warm while I baked the veggies for another half an hour. The sweet potatoes were nice and soft by then, but I ended up throwing out the plantain because I think my plantains were too green to use (they were just too starchy to eat). Even with the longer cook time and the yucky plantains (both my own fault), the chicken and sweet potatoes were delicious! I wasn't sure how DH would feel about the coconut flavor on the chicken, but he ate nearly all of the chicken that night, so I guess that's a thumbs-up! Oh, I doubled the recipe and I just used all boneless skinless thighs for the chicken (DH doesn't do bony chicken). I'd like to make this again, but with black plantains instead of green ones. Thanks for posting! Made for the Emerald City Shakers for ZWT7

Muffin Goddess June 29, 2011

This is a fun recipe. I had never worked with banana leaves before and it was really pretty easy. I loved the coconut flavor on the chicken and the sweet potatoes. The chicken was nice and moist. Thanks! Made for ZWT7 for the Golden Gourmets.

LifeIsGood June 24, 2011