banana leaves (I used frozen, available from Asian supermarkets)
800g root vegetables (I used an equal mix of taro, kumara and pumpkin)
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
300g spinach, washed and chopped
1kg pork (I used shoulder belly), cut into 2cm thick slices
3 spring onions, sliced
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
½ cup coriander leaves.

Laplap is a plant closely related to banana. In Vanuatu it is used to wrap vegetables, fish and meats for cooking in an earth oven. My version uses banana leaves and is cooked in a charcoal kettle barbecue. You can vary the use of vegetables in the base; traditionally taro, cassava or plantain would be used, but use what you have available.


1.Light a charcoal barbecue and when the coals have cooled slightly, push to the sides in two piles.
2.Put a small foil tray of water in the bottom rack between the charcoal to create a slightly steamy environment.
3.If using fresh banana leaves, either blanch or soften over the fire before using.
4.Line a large foil tray (I used 33 x 26 x 6cm) with banana leaves, allowing for overhang.
5.Drizzle a little of the coconut milk on the banana leaves.
6.Peel and grate the root vegetables (taro can cause irritation to the skin when raw, so you might want to use gloves when grating).
7.Combine with 250ml coconut milk and the salt and mix well.
8.Put into the banana leaf-lined tin and press down.
9.Top with the spinach, then the pork slices, season generously with salt and pepper, scatter over the spring onions, tomatoes and coriander.
10.Reserve 50ml of coconut milk and set aside.
11.Drizzle the remaining coconut milk over the meat and vegetables.
12.Top with banana leaves, folding over the edges, and tie the whole thing with string if necessary.
13.Put on the higher rack of the kettle barbecue, cover and cook slowly for 3 hours.
14.Put on the higher rack of the kettle barbecue, cover and cook slowly for 3 hours.
15.Remove from the kettle, unwrap and drizzle with the remaining coconut milk.
16.Serve immediately.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Ellen J Hemmings

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