Blog post by Nandita Iyer
I doubt there was a single day in my childhood when there were no bananas at home. Probably because my grandfather did an elaborate pooja each day which ended with offering a banana, freshly cooked rice and dal as ‘naivedhya’ – they ensured that the old plastic fruit basket was never empty. Tamil brahmins of the older generations (my parents and above) were mostly thrifty people. I remember questioning my grandmom and also my amma, why those fruit baskets were older than me, but never replaced. Now, I feel quite proud that my family has (unconsciously) prevented so much plastic from going into landfills. They were never the use and throw types. Each little thing had its use and they used it carefully, never finding a chance to throw it away or replace it. “The plastics of these days don’t even last a few months, ours have been going on since 40 years,” they would say, and I must say, I find that to be true now. That plastic wire fruit basket is actually etched in my memory
Even something like a completely overripe mushy banana would have some use. And no, not banana bread. The rare cake would be baked by my cooking enthusiast Chithi, in a pressure cooker. Nothing justified the presence of ovens in our homes those days
“என்ன தினமும் கேக் ஆ பண்ண போறோம்??”_ (are we going to make cakes everyday??)
Overripe bananas went into a pachidi, or a raita. I used to love this raita so much as a kid, as I do even now. Called ‘Pazham Pachidi’ in Tamil, served along with a peppery poricha kootu or with a pulao, it is my favourite raita ever. As it is probably rarely made outside of thrifty tambrahm homes, it is quite unheard of, especially in North Indian cuisine. Correct me if I am wrong though 🙂 When I called our bunch of #thekitchendivas foodbloggers home for lunch, they were pleasantly surprised to find overripe bananas in a raita.
The best thing about this raita is the crunch offered by the generous quantity of udad dal used in the tempering, so make sure you don’t skimp on that! The udad dal powder is great when you use somewhat runny homemade yogurt, it thickens up the raita. It also adds to the flavour. You may however omit it, if you are using thick yogurt and you think it is too much of a chore to roast and powder the udad dal. This flour is available readymade in some stores, or you can prepare a small quantity and store it in an airtight bottle.
While I love banana bread and I make it quite regularly in various permutations combinations, this is the best healthy way to use overripe mushy bananas without adding tons of sugar, flour and fat. Since we are in #getFitMarch, I’d like to stick to the healthier option 😉 Pair it with a spicy rice dish or a spicy curry and rotis, don’t believe me when I say it is nirvana, try it for yourself 🙂
Recipe for Banana Raita | Pazham Pachidi
Serves 3-4 Prep time: Under 5 mins | Cooking time: Under 5 minutes
To make udad dal flour, roast 4 tbsp of udad dal (either split or whole) on a low flame, until aromatic, for roughly 5 minutes. Allow to cool and dry grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or the small jar of a mixer.