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En papillote (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ papijɔt]; French for "enveloped in paper"), or al cartoccio in Italian, is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. The parcel is typically made from folded parchment paper, but other material, such as a paper bag or aluminium foil, may be used. The parcel holds in moisture to steam the food. The pocket is created by overlapping circles of aluminum foil and parchment paper and then folding them tightly around the food to create a seal. A papillote should be opened at the table to allow people to smell the aroma when it opens.
This method is most often used to cook fish or vegetables, but lamb and poultry can also be cooked en papillote. Choice of herbs, seasonings and spices depend on the particular recipe being prepared.
The pouch should be sealed with careful folding.
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With large leaves (e.g. banana, Xanthosoma, or cassava) widely available across the archipelago, Indonesians have long used them in food preparation. The leaves are used to wrap food before cooking it either by steaming or grilling. The Indonesian method requires no additional moisture, and in some dishes, the leaf wrappings may also be eaten. Popular Indonesian dishes that employ this cooking method include pepes, botok, buntil, and otak-otak (variations of this dish are also commonly available in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia).
Beggar's Chicken is encased in mud or clay before being heated directly on a fire. The legend surrounding its origination was to prevent any aroma from escaping while it was being cooked.
This method of cooking was first seen in Kerala, back 4,000+ years ago, as a technique used to cook fish as well as other south Indian delicacies.
- Hesser, Amanda (May 19, 1999). "The Envelope Please: Cooking En Papillote". New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2012.