Manaona! Today, I am making koba ravina, a snack that comes straight from Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, with unique flora and fauna (who said lemur?)
Pronounced koub ‘rav’n (from “koba”, dough, and “ravina” leaf; literally “dough with leaves”), this sweet snack also called kobandravina, moforavina or koba akondro, is extremely popular and is found throughout the “Big Island “(the nickname of Madagascar).
Koba ravina is consumed daily by the vast majority of Malagasy people, mostly in late afternoon as a snack by the students as they come back from school, but also by office workers or farmers. In Madagascar, you can buy it as a snack at train stations and trucking stations, folded into banana leaves. Flavored with vanilla, a real natural resource of Madagascar, the kobas are prepared by street vendors who carry them on their heads, in a basket that keeps them hot. They roam the streets shouting “Koba… Koba… vao mafana!” (“Koba… Koba… hot”). A cry eagerly awaited by all Malagasy everyday and which the Malagasy pop-folk group Tarika, paid tribute to in their song “Koba“.
Do not skimp on cooking in the banana leaves because it is really what gives the flavor to these delicious little snacks. There are no really typical Malagasy desserts except for this koba ravina and also a wide variety of donuts that are prepared with banana (mofo akondro), sweet potato (mofo bajeda), cassava (mofo mangahazo) as well as coconut (mofo-gasy).
This koba ravina is a simple dessert to make. The sweet flavors of banana and vanilla and the texture of the crushed peanuts give a surprising and quite unique result. If you feel like making other desserts with glutinous rice flour, surprise your friends with Cambodian nom plae ai or Korean baram tteok. And for those who are looking for ideas to cook in banana leaves, which is a very common technique in Asia but also in Africa and Latin America, you should try savory dishes like Ugandan luwombo or Guatemalan tamales negros, or desserts like the cassava pudding from the Solomon Islands.
I made this dessert for the first time with my friend Rina, who is from Madagascar. I did it a second time in Palm Springs with my friend Laurence in front of the cameras for one of our few videos. And we can say that we had a lot of fun but also loved eating them with our friends and family!
Bon appetit and enjoy the gastronomic journey!
- Mash bananas. Mix with rice flour and sugar.
- Cut the vanilla bean in two, lengthwise. Split the pod in two and scrape the inside of each half pod with the blade of a knife to remove the seeds.
- Add collected vanilla and mix.
- Place 3 tablespoons of the batter in the center of a banana leaf.
- Sprinkle with peanuts
- Fold the banana leaf along the length of a rectangle and tie with raffia.
- Steam for 20 minutes.