Having given up trying to restore everything that got lost, I’m plunging ahead. Since I’ve been going bananas over this problem, I decided that this is a good time to get out the banana photos. (Groan)

South Indians tend to be banana connoisseurs. Few fruit stands have just one kind of bananas; and it’s not uncommon to find shops with more than a dozen varieties. Different varieties are used for different dishes, both cooked and raw. Spicy banana chips are a popular South Indian snack.

Some bananas are sweeter than others. While some are outstanding for eating just plain, others are really only good for cooking. If all you’ve ever tasted are the ordinary bananas you get in the US and Europe, you should really try some of the different varieties, many of which are much more delicious. My favorite is a big red variety, but, unfortunately, I don’t know the name. I think they might be the red ones shown in the last photo.

When buying bananas in South India, it’s a good idea to tell the vendor how you are planning to use them so he can show you which ones are most suitable.

Banana leaf plates. Photo credit: Alison Domzalski (Creative Commons license)

Banana leaf plates. Photo credit: Alison Domzalski
(Creative Commons license)

Photo credit: Chris Hand (Creative Commons license)

Photo credit: Chris Hand
(Creative Commons license)

Banana leaves are used for wrapping, cooking and serving food. Banana stems and banana flowers are also cooked, but as a vegetable rather than a fruit. To prepare banana flower for cooking, remove and discard the tough outer bracts. You’ll just use the inner, whitish part of the flower. They can be used raw in salads or cooked and used in soups and curries. They  also make delicious pakoras (sliced,pakora  coated with batter and deep-fried).

Incidentally, with conventionally-grown bananas, monkeys don’t eat the skins. However, one zoo happened to give their monkeys organic ones and found that they ate the skins instead of throwing them away.



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