Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Steamed Banana

It was somewhere in the early Sixties in the Autumn months when I came home in the late afternoon from school, dumped my school bag on the nearest available chair and ran straight to the kitchen from where, the distinct aroma of steamed bananas was emanating from the Idli Steamer(Tandoor/Pedaavan). Yes, mother has been steaming them lovely Nendrabale Bananas for our evening snack! These also make good breakfast snack or dessert.
Steamed banana with home made ghee and sugar is a delicacy in this part of coastal Karnataka and widely popular in Kerala, the birth place of Nendra Bananas. Our childhood was spent eating these simple delicacies, when we didn't have many deserts available in the market. The most luxurious dessert was Fruit Salad with Ice Cream at Maharaja Soda Factory,  Rayan's and later at Shetty Ice Cream and Komal's Cream Parlour. Our hunger could be satiated only after eating one full steamed Nendrabale banana with ghee and sugar followed by a generous portion of Phovachutney or Upma washed down with hot jaggery based kaapi in big bronze 'Lota' or tumbler! During Krishna Janmashtami, steamed bananas are essential part of the 'Phalaahaar' in the morning.
Gopi's Banana Shop in Car Street before it was demolished for road widening some years ago
Nendrabale is a wholesome banana available almost round the year in this part of the world. During my younger days, Car Street had two famous banana shops selling these near the Flower Market. One is Gopi's Shop and another, Kunhaambu's Shop. Both were my late father's well known people who wouldn't cheat and they always gave the best bananas at most reasonable prices. As far as my memory goes, I used to buy Nendra Bananas for Re.1/- per dozen in the Sixties. Later in the Eighties I've purchased them from whole sellers in Bunder area for Rs.7/- per Kilo. Now they cost little over Rs.75/- per Kilo in retail and maybe Rs.60/- per Kilo wholesale. Ghee should be freshly made at home but now a days we depend on good commercial ghee available in the market, as good as home made. Those who are calorie conscious may eat them without ghee and sugar. They are tasty anyway.

The method to make steamed bananas is simple and quick. You don't need to mug up the recipe to do this. All you need to do is watch the level of water in your pressure cooker or idli steamer as you steam them.

Nendrabale bananas - 4 big ones(Around 1 Kg)
Fresh Ghee - 4 Tsp(Or according to preference)
Sugar - 4 Tsp(Or according to preference)

Wash the bananas and trim the ends. Keep the peel intact.
If you prefer, you may cut them into two but we prefer them whole.
Arrange the bananas in a bowl.
Boil sufficient water in a closed pressure cooker without weight or an idli steamer.
As steam starts to form, open the lid, place the bowl with the bananas in the cooker/steamer and close the lid.
Allow to steam for 15-25 minutes or till the banana peel splits open lengthwise and the bananas are well cooked and soft.
Remove from the steamer, peel them and arrange individual steamed bananas on plates.
Make gashes on them as shown in the pictures.
Pour melting ghee over each one of them, sprinkle sugar and keep for 3-5 mins before serving, so that the sugar gets well blended with ghee and infiltrates the steamed bananas.
Some add a dash of cardamom powder but they taste excellent as they are, with ghee and sugar.

1 comment:

Shridhar Acharya said...

Sounds delicious. Don't get nandra bale here so will make these with plantains instead.


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