Chicken and Coconut in Banana Leaves


This is based on a style of cooking that I experienced in Papua New Guinea, however I adapted it slightly to suit Western cooking methods. It basically involves making banana leaf parcels in which to bake the ingredients. Serve parcels on plates, bamboo mats, or more traditionally fresh green banana leaves. Enjoy with a very cold beer (preferably of Tropical origin) although a bottle of Chardonnay has a lot of appeal as well!

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Additional Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 5 mins
2 servings


  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon barbeque sauce

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

  • ¾ cup coconut milk

  • 2 chicken drumsticks

  • 2 chicken thighs

  • 2 yellow plantains, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch slices

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into thick sticks

  • 1 fresh, unsplit banana leaf


  1. Whisk together soy sauce, barbeque sauce, ginger, and coconut. Pour over chicken drumsticks, thighs, plantain, and sweet potato in a resealable plastic bag. Seal, and marinate 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  3. Gently warm the whole banana leaf over a fire or gas burner until the leaf is pliable, but not burnt, 3 to 4 minutes. Cut the leaf into four large squares, measuring at least 12x12 inches. Carefully cut four long, thin strips from the rib of the leaf, these will be used as 'string' to tie the packets later.

  4. Place a piece of meat 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 a present. Securely tie with the rib strips, and place the packets onto a baking sheet.

  5. 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.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

740 Calories
34g Fat
74g Carbs
42g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 740
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 20g 102%
Cholesterol 127mg 42%
Sodium 283mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 74g 27%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 35mg 177%
Calcium 57mg 4%
Iron 6mg 36%
Potassium 1582mg 34%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.