Raw Bananas / Kaccha Kela/ Vazhakkai/ Plantains are a great source of Potassium , Magnesium , Vitamins and more. Infact these are a staple in the tropical parts of the worlds. Make no mistake, this very much different from the unripe green bananas and dessert bananas. Their skin is tough to peel and you need to use a peeler or knife . They also contain less sugar than the dessert bananas as well. The are often treated akin to potatoes in their usage. Often a staple in many south indian households, there are quite a few preparations of this. Kababs, Podimas, Cutlets, kola vadai . stews and so many more to tease your tease buds!
Quick to cook, versatile in its prep , chock full of nutrients and economically available – no wonder it is quite popular.
This particular preparation will yield particularly crispy plantain fry without a heavy dose of oil and has an awesome crunch and flavor on the surface and tender texture inside. This dish is really good paired with steaming rice and a stew or with hot phulkas and a dal. Or simple fry it to an extra few minutes and pick it and eat it as such. Told you, it is that good ! (I have added preparation methods for barbecue and grilling as well. Do check out the notes section)
Prep time : 10 min Marinating time : 15 min Cooking time : 15 min Serves : 4-6
- Raw Bananas : 5-6, medium to large in size
For the Marinade:
- Chickpea flour/ Besan : 1 .5 Tbsp.
- Rice flour : 1 Tbsp.
- Sambar powder : 1 tsp + extra as required for spice
- Kashmiri Chili powder : 1 tsp.
- Ginger : 1 inch, skinned and grated
- Water / Yoghurt : 1 Tbsp. + 1 more if required
- Salt : 1 tsp . + adjusted to taste
Seasoning and Skillet Frying :
- Oil : 1 Tbsp. ( you can add more if you think you can take it)
- Curry leaves : 6-8 ( washed very well )
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
- Hing/ Asafoetida : A generous pinch
- Fill a bowl with enough water so it can accommodate the sliced bananas.
- Trim the ends of the Raw bananas and slice/ peel the skin . Slice it in 1/4 inch thick slices and immerse in water immediately. Why ? Well if you don’t, it will start to blacken very soon.
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients listed under the marinade. This will not be watery or thick gooey marinade . It will resemble a wet rub more.
- Drain the slices and add these to the marinade. Toss it gently so each and every slice gets coated very well. The moisture from the slices will now make the rub more wet and help in the coating . Take care to not add too much water / yoghurt in the initial marinade rub please!
- Let it sit for about 15 min or so. Once marinated it is ready to get pan-fried.
- In a wide flat bottomed skillet ( preferably nonstick or well seasoned cast iron will work wonders too ) add a tbsp. of oil ( you can add one more if you would like to) and on heating add the seasonings. Let it splutter and then add the marinated raw banana slices in a single layer as much as possible. You will need to cook this on medium high heat and let it brown evenly on one side and flip to the other side to cook it nice and brown again. I initially covered it and cooked it for a couple of minutes to hasten the process and then cooked It uncovered so I could retain the crunch.
- Gently toss it please, if not you are more likely to split the thinner sliced ones. In about 15 minutes or so you will have nice and crisp fried sliced of raw banana . Check and adjust for salt if required.
- Serve it hot with rice or phulkas and a stew !
- Want to add a twist? Add a dash of tamarind paste , some saunf or fennel seeds and some garam masala and a whole new burst of flavors happens.
- Want to grill this? It would be awesome. Make thicker slices, poke some holes to facilitate the marination and let it sit for about a couple of hours and then proceed to grill.
- You can add a thick gooey marinade paste as well made of yoghurt and tandoori masala and skewer barbeque it. It would be really good.
- Add some mint and cilantro fine ground to this as well. Totally lip smacking !!