Before the invention of modern ceramic plates, people all over the world used materials that nature provided.
Tamils were not exempt.Ancient Tamils stitched together, banyan leaves, jack tree leaves, palmyra tree leaves, coconut tree leaves, and lotus tree leaves, etc., and use them to serve food.
Eating food from banana leaves is an age-old tradition but for Tamils, this practice can still be seen. For instance at traditional Tamil Weddings or home warming ceremonies.
A well-known practice for Tamils is to wrap uncooked food in leaves and then steam cooked. The Dutch – Tamil food combination; Lamprias (in Dutch) or Lumprice (in English), is an answer to the Persian Biriyani that spread throughout India.
This is where cooked food is placed together in a banana leaf and wrapped and baked in an oven. This method will enhance the flavor of the Lampras which is obviously a doubly cooked delicacy.
Don’t you worry, you’ll definitely be able to get your hands on this recipe soon! Other examples include dumplings wrapped in portia tree leaves and steam cooked.
The congee was traditionally consumed in cups made of Jack tree leaves and Teak leaves used for snacks. In Kerala, the land of the Cheras, one of the three ancient Tamil dynasties, fish is marinated in hot spices and wrapped in banana leaves to be cooked!
We also see food wrapped in lotus leaves in Chinese cuisine too. With changing perception towards environmentally friendly practices and the need to move away from plastic; plates and cups, made off of banana tree sheath and areca palm leaf sheath becoming popular and prove to be a very viable alternative.