Baoshao Mushrooms (Mushrooms Grilled in Banana Leaves) Recipe

Baoshao (包烧) is a popular way to prepare food in southern Yunnan. Dai cuisine features many herbs and foraged local ingredients, such as banana leaves. Because of Yunnan’s proximity to Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, some of the flavors here may seem more reminiscent of flavors from those regions than what a lot of Americans might associate with Chinese cooking. The banana leaf preserves the freshness and juiciness of the ingredients cooked inside, while perfuming the whole dish with its aroma. This dish is traditionally prepared over a charcoal fire, and the pockets are secured with long bamboo clippers.

In Yunnan, culantro, or sawtooth coriander, is referred to as “big cilantro/大芫荽”. It has a more pungent flavor and it holds up to long cooking, but if you can’t find it, you can use cilantro as a substitute, leaving the roots on if possible. Thai lemon basil adds a warm, sweet, lemon-like flavor to the dish, but you can use anise-scented Thai sweet basil as a substitute.

If you prefer to cook your mushrooms indoors, cook in a 350°F oven about 10 minutes, which will allow the banana leaf to impart its aroma.

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