The people of Kerala are very passionate about their food. The variety of snacks they have for evening tea is enough to prove this point. Kerala is blessed with different types of fruits. Bananas, jackfruits, and mangoes are at plenty in Kerala, and they are made good use of right from when they are young to when they are ripe.
First of all, there are different types of bananas available in Kerala, in different colours and sizes. Bananas from other places are also quite on demand there. Some of them include njaalipoovan, ethappazham, cherupazham, mysorepazham, kadalipazham, cherupazham etc. Out of these, ethappazham is the one used most to make snacks – in both raw and ripe form. Let us look at some of the mouthwatering signature snacks of Kerala made of bananas:
1. Pazhampori/ Banana Fritters
This is the snack most of the Malayalis who live outside Kerala get nostalgic of. Ripe ethappazham is sliced thinly and is coated in a mixture of maida, rice flour, water, sugar and a pinch of salt and is deep fried in coconut oil. This is now served as a delicacy in a lot of places. But, if you want to have Pazhampori in its real glory, you should have it in chayakkadas (local teashops).
2. Pazham nerachathu/ Filled Banana
A dish from Malabar, this is a heavy snack which can be made quite easily. Grated coconut is sauteed in ghee along with cashew nut, raisins, cardamom and sugar. A boiled banana is slit in the middle and is filled in with this mixture. This filled banana is covered in a maida-water mixture and is deep fried. A hotel called Zains in Calicut serves really awesome and authentic pazham nerachathu.
Again a dish from Malabar, mostly made during the holy month of Ramadan, this is now gaining popularity and is being made all over Kerala throughout the year. The ingredients are almost similar to pazham nerachathu. However, the preparation is slightly different. Ripe ethappazham is boiled and is left to cool. Meanwhile, grated coconut, sugar, raisins, cashewnut and cardomom is sauteed in ghee. The boiled banana is mashed with hands and is made into small balls. It is later flattened, filled with the sauteed mixture and is closed. This is deep fried again in coconut oil. This is a dish served hot the best. Zains in Calicut serves really tasty unnakkayas.
4. Kaaya Bhajji
This is a different dish from the others as it is a snack made of raw bananas. Chickpea flour is mixed with water and salt to taste and is coated on thinly sliced raw banana. This is then deep fried and served hot with evening tea. This is a favourite of the locals and is available in most of the chaayakkadas across the state.
These are only few of the snacks made with bananas in Kerala. Others include Kaayappam, Nullipputt, Undampori, etc. The Kozhikkoden Banana chips is famous across India and is a favourite among Malayalis and non-Malayalis alike.
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