Banana Stem Fritters

In India, the entire banana tree is used – the leaves are used to wrap food and to eat from, food is cooked in banana leaves, the flowers and stem are used in cooking. In the recent Masterchef Australia, Gary used banana flower in one of the Masterclasses.

Cutting the banana stem is a fine art in itself, but the effort is really worth it. Only the core of the banana stem is used and it has a mild sweet flavour. It is full of fibre and is highly beneficial for treating ulcers and acidity. The raw juice is combined with buttermilk, salt and lime and is a natural diuretic. It is rich in potassium and vitamin B6.

These fritters are the only way I can get my daughters to eat banana stems. They are extremely delicious. This recipe makes around 20 fritters.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients

11/2 cups banana stem, chopped

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 large onion, chopped

2 green chillis, chopped finely

1 tbsp ginger, chopped finely

2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped finely

1 cup roasted chana gram

2 pieces of cinnamon

3 cloves

2 cardamoms

Salt to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

Place the banana stem with turmeric and a little salt in a large pan and add ¼ cup of water. Cook on medium heat until they become tender and the water is completely evaporated. The stems cook fast and the mixture should be completely dry. Set aside to cool. Dry grind in a blender to a coarse paste (do not make it into a smooth paste).

Powder the roasted gram dal in a blender and set aside.

Roast the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom in a small pan and powder it.

Add the chopped onions, green chillis, ginger and coriander to the stem paste. Add the powdered spices, enough salt and half of the gram powder and mix well. The mixture should be firm enough to be shaped into small fritters. If it is too wet, add more of the powdered gram dal. Shape into small fritters and deep fry.

Zucchini Latkes with Red Pepper Salsa

It was one of those times when I had these ingredients sitting in my fridge – some zucchinis, a few carrots and sweet corn. I was wondering what I could do with them and how to put them together. I make Sweet Potato Latkes often and I decided that would be a good idea to put them together in the same manner.

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As it turned out, I think they may be a mixture of latkes and pancakes, but they are absolutely delicious. This is a recipe that you can put together very quickly and one that I will be definitely making many times over.

I just added some cheese as I thought it would go well with the ingredients. You could also add some goat’s cheese instead of the cheddar. I must confess though – cheddar is one of my favourites.

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The salsa was an afterthought. I wanted something zingy to go with the latkes and the red pepper and tomatoes were the perfect combination! They tasted amazing and paired beautifully well.

You can serve this at breakfast or tea time. It can be a side dish as well. An anytime dish actually!

Zucchini, Carrot and Sweetcorn Latkes with Red Pepper and Tomato Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup sweetcorn kernels
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Oil

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat with a little oil. Pour the batter in and form small pancakes. Cook a few minutes on each side until they are golden brown and cooked completely, adding a little oil if necessary.

Serve with the Red Pepper and Tomato Salsa,

Red Pepper and Tomato Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Using tongs, roast the red pepper over the fire until the skin is charred. Cool and peel the skin. Chop and set aside.

Remove the crust from the bread and tear it into small bits.

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process to make a rough puree.

Turn into a small bowl and cover with cling film until ready to serve.