The Salt In Between Banana Leaves | The Binalot Thoughts

The normal preparation method for binalot, (kanin at ulam na binalot sa dahon ng saging):

Lay a softened banana leaf on table. It should be wide enough to cover the rice and viand. Place a dash of salt on center. Place another leaf over the large leaf, smaller leaf about 1/4 the size of the larger. Place a serving of rice. Rice with consistency that stick together when compressed. Add a salted egg, crunchy ripe tomato and another viand of choice.

I guess it is the traditional preparation that has  been passed through generations and now become a luxurious business of popular restaurants, like RSM Lutong Bahay and Binalot Fiesta.

Mom was also making binalot but not as elegant as those high end restaurant are serving. A single softened leaf, a serving of rice and salted egg or any other viand like fried galunggong, tocino, hotdog or tapa.

Mom was not including some minor details. The inclusion of second banana leaf and a pinch of salt. The two seem not important but play vital roles. The second leaf separates the salt from rice, thus, preventing it from merging into rice.  Salt is a basic flavoring that has been in use for centuries, before complex flavorings were invented. Its inclusion further enhance the traditional trait of the meal package.

Salt inclusion might not be necessary specially when itlog na maalat is included. But, it has another function that we might not realized. It has the ability to absorbed excess moisture from rice, therefore, making it shelf life a little longer. Spoilage of pack meal in a plastic lunchbox is usual but less likely when wrapped with banana leaf with a dash of salt. Rice meal wrapped with banana leaf usually smells and tastes better and last longer.

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