Leaf-Wrapped Rice and Banana Bundles

Khao Tom Mat (Thailand)
Serves 4 to 8 (makes 8 dumplings)


For the Rice Mixture

¼ cup dried black turtle beans, soaked in plenty of water for 6 to 8 hours or ½ cup canned, drained and rinsed
3 pandan leaves, each folded in half and tied into a knot for easier handling, or ¼ teaspoon pandan extract
½ cup fresh coconut milk or canned coconut milk
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup medium-grain sweet (glutinous) white rice, preferably from Thailand, rinsed and soaked in plenty of water for 6 to 8 hours

For the Filling

2 very ripe bananas

For Assembly

Eight 8-inch prepared banana-leaf squares
Eight 6-inch prepared banana-leaf squares
Eight 36-inch lengths of kitchen string for tying the khao tom mat


1. Cook the Beans 1½ to 2 Hours in Advance: (Skip this step if using canned black turtle beans.) Drain the black turtle beans and place them in a small saucepan. Cover the beans with plenty of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 to 1½ hours. Drain and place in a small bowl to cool.

2. Cook the Rice: Place the knotted pandan leaves in a small pot. Pour in the coconut milk and stir in the sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Immediately cover, reduce the heat to very low, and barely simmer for 15 minutes. If using fresh coconut milk, be careful not to let it come to a boil.

3. Drain the rice. Remove the pandan leaves from the coconut milk and discard. Raise the heat from very low to low, mix in the rice, cover, and simmer for 3 minutes. Uncover and stir the rice until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Scoop into a bowl, mix in the beans, and set aside to cool. The rice will be firm and

4. Assemble the Dumplings: Line a tray with a kitchen towel and have ready the rice mixture, bananas, bananaleaf squares, and the ties.

5. Peel the bananas and split each one into 4 equal pieces by cutting them both crosswise and lengthwise. You will have 8 banana slices.

6. Lay flat 1 large banana-leaf square, smooth side up, then place a smaller leaf square, smooth side up, diagonally on top of the large square. Center 2 rounded tablespoons of the rice mixture on top of the stacked leaves and spread it out into a 4 x 2-inch rectangle. Gently press a piece of banana into the rice mixture. The length of the banana should not be longer than the 4-inch length of the rice rectangle. Top with 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture. Fold over one corner of the stacked leaves. Fold over the opposite corner. Fold the ends of the leaves over as firmly as you can to create a neat, rectangular package. Tie to secure the folds, place the package on the lined tray, and repeat until you have 8 packages.

7. Steam the Dumplings: Remove the basket from the steamer pot, add 2 inches of water to the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Arrange the packages in the basket, then place the basket in the pot. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and steam for 1 hour. Check the water level halfway through the cooking and replenish with boiling water as needed.

8. Remove the pot from the heat. Carefully remove the basket and place it on a folded kitchen towel. Let the khao tom mat cool slightly, cut off the strings (unless you are freezing the dumplings), and serve. They can also be served at room temperature. It’s best not to open the packages too soon, and to peel back the leaves just before eating so they stay moist and warm. Khao tom mat can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen (unopened) for up to 6 months. Reheat them in a steamer pot or use the Steamer Plate Setup. If reheating frozen khao tom mat, allow them to thaw before steaming.

© Recipe courtesy of Wai Hon Chu

Leaf-Wrapped Rice and Banana Bundles