Going Bananas - Healthy and Delicious!

Bananas are a staple starch of many tropical regions. Just the other day a friend of mine from Columbia even said they eat sweet bananas together with soup - when the rest of the Netherlands - and probably most Northern countries eat soup together with bread.

Another wacky thing about bananas I read today on wikipedia - is that bananas are naturally slightly radioactive... and something that those pro-nuclear energy supporters often site in favor of their arguments. And that banana shipments often set off the radiation monitors installed at US ports to dectect illegal shipments of radiological materials.

And have you seen the email forward that goes around all about the nutritional benefits of bananas? Bananas are like a super food! The expression “going bananas” is from the effects bananas have on the brain... just two bananas provide enough energy for a 90-minute workout, bananas may reduce blood pressure and stroke... read more about this amazing fruit here.

Aside from all the hoopla about bananas - the thing I like most about them is that they taste good! And they do keep for a while unlike some other fruits... and when they go all black in color - or ripen you can use them for baking sweet breads, cakes, etc. The other nice thing about them is that we buy them every week at my house. It’s a staple item on our grocery list... so it’s not difficult for me to add them into a recipe easily. Usually they get taken to school and eaten plain and Mark uses them almost every night to accompany his vanilla yogurt late night snacking.

Today though, I tried two very interesting and delicious recipes using the sweet banana. I would like to share the recipes with you... and I highly recommend trying them soon. The first recipe is a main course - and it was so satisfying that Mark and I decided to add this to our family favorites cookbook. The second is a dessert. Also equally satisfying for me and my good friend who taste tested it before the meal... Mark didn’t like it though - he said it was too much like pudding (like there could be anything wrong with that?!)

Curry from Bananas, Coconut and Chicken

(Source: Jumbosupermarkten.nl/receptenbanaan)
Main course
Serves 4
Time: 25 minutes

2 tablespoons hazelnuts
4 bananas, peeled
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar*, divided
2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
3 tablespoon sunflower or light olive oil
400g chicken filet, cubed; or vegetarian substitute
2 onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons mild curry powder
200ml creamy coconut milk
4 tablespoonfuls shredded coconut

1. In pan roast hazelnuts on high heat 2 minutes. Let cool on plate. Chop nuts.
2. Divide bananas. In a bowl, slice 2 bananas and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon vinegar. In another bowl, diced and stirred together with remaining tablespoon vinegar. Set aside.
3. Bouillon cubes in 300ml boiled water. In large pan heat oil and cook chicken 4 minutes. Adjust time for vegetarian substitute. Add onions and cook further 3 minutes. Mix in curry powder and diced banana mixture. Cook another minute, then mix in bouillon and coconut milk and bring to boil. Adjust heat and simmer 5 minutes.
4. Serving suggestion: Delicious with warm white rice and steamed broccoli; divide among 4 bowls and garnish with shredded coconut, chopped hazelnuts and banana slices.

*Suggestion: Use FairTrade brand White Wine Vinegar in Lemon-Fennel variety

Banana Split Pudding Brownies
Dessert by Isa Chandra Moskowitz - from the cook book Vegan with a Vengeance - makes a really fudgy brownie - although you can hold it in your hand - best eaten with a fork. I topped mine off with dried banana chips and drizzled them with caramel sauce. Yum :)

Makes 12 brownies

Brownie layer:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup pureed banana (about 2 large or 2 1/2 medium)
1/3 cup light oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pudding layer:
1 cup pureed banana
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350-F or 180-C. Lightly grease 9x13-inch baking pan. To make brownie batter, melt chocolate in microwave on low heat - stirring every 30 seconds till melted. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine banana, oil and sugar. Mix in chocolate and vanilla. In another bowl sift together dry ingredients. Add this to the banana mixture until well blended. Prepare the pudding layer in a separate bowl. Combine all ingredients and mix well. To assemble and bake brownies: spread the brownie batter in prepared baking pan. Pour the banana pudding topping over that and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. About 15 minutes later, cool completely in refrigerator. Cut into 12 squares - garnish as desired and serve.


Kay Heritage said…
We can eat a crateful of bananas at my house! Great post, Melissa. Also, I finally posted chocolate buttercream frosting recipe(not the cake yet)you asked for while back. Sorry it took so long!
Lisa said…
I definitely want to try that banana curry. It sounds delicious.

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