If there is one variety of banana that I absolutely love, it is the Ethapazham or Nendrapazham, or plantain. It is great as a fruit, in curries and in desserts. This particular curry, Ethapazham Pachadi, is easy to make and is a fine balance of sweet and spicy.
Ethapazham or plantain 2, peeled and chopped
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut 3 tbsps
Green chillies 2
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Red chilli whole 1
Coconut oil 1 tbsp
Yoghurt 2 tbsps
Boil the chopped plantains with red chilli powder, turmeric and salt in 1 cup of water.
Grind the grated coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds.
Mash the cooked banana.
Add the ground coconut mix.
Add the curry leaves and bring to a boil. If it is too thick, add some water.
Take it off the heat and add the whipped yoghurt.
Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and whole red chilli.
I was trying to come up with a way to use rice flour and remembered some lovely dishes I had in Japan. Thinking of some the sweets made from rice flour, I decided to make a banana cake. The chocolate chips added a delicious but subtle taste.
Sugar 3/4 cup (150 g)
Vegetable oil 4 tbsps
Milk 6 tbsps
Rice flour 1 cup (200 g)
Baking powder 2 tsps
Chocolate chips 1 tbsp
Mash two of the bananas well in a wide bowl.
Add the eggs and mix well. I use an electrical whisk, my trusted hand-held blender Braun.
Add the sugar, oil and milk and whisk for two minutes.
Add the rice flour and baking powder and mix with a wooden or rubber spatula. Then whisk at high speed for a few minutes. In the case of rice flour there is no gluten and so you can whisk well to get in as much air as you can.
Line a round baking tray with greased butter paper and pour in the batter. Slice the remaining banana and arrange on top of the batter. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C and bake the cake at 170 degrees C for 45 minutes. Check after 35 minutes and stop when a toothpick poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
When I was working on the newspaper desk in Singapore, we would start work at the unearthly hour of 4.30 am and the one thing that kept us going was that we would take turns to bring in warm bread for an early breakfast. One of my colleagues used to make this really divine banana bread. My banana bread recipe is based on hers though I have tweaked it to add nuts and raisins and also sour cream to make it more moist. This has been a hit with my family for more than 20 years. In fact, my sister-in-law said this should be my retirement plan: to make and sell banana bread.
I make this in the bread maker and so it is super easy. I set it for baking overnight and it is ready for breakfast the next morning.
Vegetable oil 1/3 cup Sour cream 1/4 cup Eggs 2, beaten All-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups Brown sugar 2/3 cup Baking powder 1 tsp Baking soda 1/2 tsp Salt 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence 1 tsp Bananas 2, mashed Walnuts 1/2 cup Raisins 1/4 cup
Add everything to the bread-maker pan in the order given above. Set it to Sweet or Cake setting depending on your machine.
When done take it out and let it cool. Slice and serve.
I had asked my vegetable vendor to bring me zucchini, but by the time he brought it, I forgot what I had wanted to make in the first place. I had some overripe bananas, so I decided to try adding zucchini to my usual banana bread. It turned out delicious.
(Serves 4-5 persons)
All purpose flour 1 1/2 cups Bananas 2, mashed Zucchini 1 cup, grated Sugar 3/4 cup Baking powder 1 tsp Baking soda 1/2 tsp Eggs 2, beaten Walnuts 1/2 cup, roughly crushed Vegetable oil 1/2 cup
Preheat the oven at 350 degree F or 180 degree C.
In a bowl mix the dry ingredients — flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar. In another bowl mix well the eggs, bananas and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and add the zucchini too. Mix using a folding motion. Do not over-mix. Add the walnuts.
Grease a loaf pan and pour in the batter. Tap it on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 60 minutes. Check after 50 minutes using a toothpick in the centre of the loaf. If the toothpick comes out clean, take out the pan. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then let it cool on a rack. Slice it only after it is completely cool.