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Nendhra Pazham Puzhungiyathu - Steamed Bananas: A Taste of Kerala

by - August 11, 2018

 

Nendhrapazham Puzhungiyathu - Steamy hot Bananas displayed on a Banana Leaf in a woven serving Basket.

Nendhrapazham Puzhungiyathu - Steamed Bananas, a Nutritious Delight

Steamed Bananas - Nendhrapazham Puzhungiyathu: A Nutritious Delight

    Steamed Bananas, particularly known as Nendhrapazham Puzhungiyathu in Kerala, offer a unique and nutritious culinary experience. Steaming bananas is not a common technique in most cuisines, but it brings out the astringent properties, making them easily digestible and ideal for a light, nourishing meal.

    Nendhra Bananas, also known as Nendhrapazham, are specifically suited for steaming due to their size, thick skin, and firm flesh. These bananas, with their golden yellow colour and sweet taste, are a staple in Kerala households. Unlike other varieties, Nendhra Bananas maintain their structure when cooked, making them perfect for steaming.

Uses of Nendhra Bananas in Kerala Cuisine

Nendhra Bananas are versatile in Kerala cuisine:

Steamed Bananas in Kerala and Beyond

    Steamed Bananas (Nendhra Pazham Puzhungiyathu) are commonly served in Kerala as a breakfast item or snack. This dish can be enjoyed on its own or paired with Puttu, Idiyappam, Vellayappam/Appam or with Rava Upma.  It's also a traditional dish in the festive Onam Sadhya and Vishnu Sadhya feasts.

    Interestingly, a similar recipe exists in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, known as Pisang Rebus. Here in Malaysia, Pisang Tanduk(in Malay) Bananas are cooked with pandan leaves and served with grated coconut lightly coated with salt.

Health Benefits of Nendhra Bananas

Nendhra Bananas, are rich in nutrients:

  • Potassium and Vitamins: They help regulate blood pressure, prevent kidney stones, and reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Digestive Health: They prevent stomach ulcers and help regulate blood glucose levels, providing sustained energy.

Steaming the bananas with their skin helps balance the overripe sweetness, making it a perfect, balanced, and filling breakfast.

Traditional and Modern Methods of Steaming Bananas

    While some recipes involve boiling bananas in sugar or jaggery syrup, the traditional method of steaming retains more nutrients. My MIL’s mother(Clemmi Thaathi) used to serve Steamed Bananas (Nendhra Pazham Puzhungiyathu) cooked in jaggery syrup with cloves called Nendhra Pazham Pani, alongside Vellayappam.

Quick and Easy Nendhra Banana Snack Recipe

    My mom makes a delightful and quick evening snack by simply roasting sliced Nendhra Bananas in ghee with a sprinkle of sugar. The taste is absolutely divine, making it one of the most frequently enjoyed snacks at home. I especially love pairing this roasted Nendhra Banana snack with Upma, Vellayappam, and Idiyappam for a delicious and satisfying meal.

For modern convenience, you can steam bananas using a steamer, pressure cooker, or even a microwave. 

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Cuisine: Kerala (India)
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 2-3
Author: SM

Cooking Time:
Steamer/Pressure Cooker: 10–15 Minutes
Microwave: 2–3 Minutes

 

Discover a wide range of Recipes featuring Nendhra Pazham, here...

 

Discover the Secret to Perfectly Steamed Nendhra Bananas

How to Cook Steamed Bananas - Nendhra Pazham Puzhungiyathu: Kerala's Traditional Recipe

Ingredients:

Nendhra Bananas - 2 Nos.
Water - For Steaming

Method:

Preparation:

  • Wash and cut the Nendhra Bananas into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size.
  • Leave the skin on.
  • Alternatively, keep the bananas whole and make 2-3 small slits over the skin.

Cooking Steamed Bananas - Nendhra Pazham Puzhungiyathu

In a Steamer:

  • Fill the steamer/pressure cooker with 1–2 cups of water and allow it to boil.
  • Place the cut banana pieces in a steamer basket/tray.
  • Cover the lid of the steamer and steam the bananas on high flame for 5 minutes.
  • Lower the flame and cook for another 5–8 minutes, until the bananas turn soft.
  • The skin will turn black and start to split at places.
  • Remove the steamed bananas from the steamer and allow them to cool for 5–10 minutes.
  • Peel and serve, hot or cold.

In a Pressure Cooker:

  • Fill the pressure cooker with 1–2 cups of water and allow it to boil.
  • Place the grid.
  • Place the cut banana pieces in a bowl or plate and place it over the grid.
  • Cover the lid of the pressure cooker (no need to use the pressure regulator/vent weight).
  • Steam the bananas on high flame for 5 minutes.
  • Lower the flame and cook for another 5–8 minutes, until the bananas turn soft.
  • The skin will turn black and start to split at places.
  • Remove the steamed bananas from the steamer and allow them to cool for 5–10 minutes.
  • Peel and serve, hot or cold.

In a Microwave (Easiest & Quickest Method):

  • Cut the bananas into 2–3 pieces and make very small slits over the skin.
  • Place the bananas in a microwave-safe bowl with a lid.
  • Place a small microwave-safe coffee mug (filled halfway) with water over the lid.
  • Microwave on high power for 2–3 minutes, depending on the size of the banana.
  • The skin will turn black and start to split at places.
  • Remove the steamed bananas from the steamer and allow them to cool for 5–10 minutes.
  • Peel and serve, hot or cold.

Notes:

  • While cooking bananas in a microwave, make small slits over the skin to ensure even cooking.
  • Open-cooked bananas tend to become dry once cooked.
  • Cooking bananas in a microwave-safe bowl covered with a lid retains moisture.
  • Adding water in a coffee mug over the lid helps retain the moistness in steamed bananas.
  • Microwaved Steamed bananas taste quite similar to those cooked in a steamer.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with a drizzle of sugar/jaggery syrup.
  • Cook the sugar/jaggery syrup with a few pods of cardamom/cloves.
  • Serve steamed bananas with freshly grated coconut.
  • Serve with a few spoons of sugar.
  • Serve with a drizzle of melted ghee.

As Baby Food:

  • Suitable for babies 6 months and above.
  • Remove the black seeds in the centre before feeding.
  • Add a few teaspoons of ghee to the steamed bananas.
  • Add sugar/jaggery syrup (optional).
  • Mash finely without lumps before feeding to babies.
  • Steamed Nendhra Bananas/Pisang Tanduk are nutritious and easily digestible.

Authentic Kerala Cuisine: Steamed Nendhra Bananas Demystified

    In conclusion, Nendhra Pazham Puzhungiyathu offers a delightful glimpse into Kerala's rich culinary heritage. This traditional dish of steamed bananas not only showcases the simplicity and health benefits of Kerala cuisine but also promises a burst of authentic flavours. Whether enjoyed as a nutritious snack or a satisfying side dish, mastering this recipe brings the essence of Kerala right to your kitchen. Explore the magic of steamed bananas and savour a taste that's as wholesome as it is cultural.

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