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Also known as
Kaccha kela, Vaayaka, Plantain Banana
Raw bananas/ Plantains belong to the banana family but tend to be firmer and cannot be eaten raw. They require cooking and are used when green or under ripe. They are a staple food in tropical regions of the world and are used in varied ways like steamed, fried etc. They are referred to as "potatoes of the Caribbean" since they resemble in flavour.
The peel of raw bananas doesn't come off easily and thus has to be peeled off mostly using a peeler or a knife. Do note that the juice from peeling the plant can stain clothing and when it sticks to the hand, it is difficult to remove. Thus, always oil your hands lightly before peeling and chopping raw bananas.
Boiled peeled and mashed raw banana
To boil raw bananas, place the bananas in a in a perforated sieve and fill the pressure cooker with enough water. Place the sieve on a stand inside the cooker and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles or till they are cooked. Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid and keep aside to cool. Peel the skin and mash them using a potato masher. These mashed raw bananas then can be used as required in variety of dishes.
Chopped raw banana
Peel the outer skin of the raw banana using a knife or a vegetable peeler. Place on a chopping board. Using a knife, cut the top "branch like" portion of the banana. Now keep the knife at a slant or straight and slit the banana lengthwise into 2 equal halves. Make slits at regular intervals lengthwise on "each halve". Combine all the strips that you obtain and chop (finely or roughly) across the length as required.
Grated raw banana
Peel the outer skin of the raw banana using a knife or a vegetable peeler. Before grating you may cook the banana as the recipe demands. If grating cooked raw banana, allow to cool. Hold the grater in one hand and the banana in the other hand. Start from the top of the grater blade and push the banana towards the bottom in one movement to get grated pieces. Grate from the thick or thin end of the grater as required.
Parboiled and diagonally cut raw banana
To parboil raw bananas, but each banana into 2 pieces along with its skin. Wash well and place them in boiling water in a deep pan and cook till they are 80% cooked. Drain, peel the skin and place the pieces on a chopping board. Now using a sharp knife, cut each half vertically and then cut into a series of diagonal slices. You can cut them into thick or thin diagonal slices as per the recipe requirement.
How to select
Sliced raw banana
Peel the outer skin of the raw banana using a knife or a vegetable peeler. Place on a chopping board. Using a knife, cut the top "branch like" portion of the banana. Now keep the knife at a slant or straight and slit the banana lengthwise into 2 equal halves. Now cut each half across the length at regular intervals to get slices as required.
Ensure that the colour of the banana is green, is firm to hold and not ripe. Check that the skin is free from blemishes and is smooth.Culinary Uses
· Since it has a flavour which is similar to potatoes, it is used in a similar fashion as potatoes. Raw banana can be boiled and then mashed, flavoured with spices and used as a filling to make cutlets, samosas and vadas. These kind of snacks are made by Jains who don't eat potatoes.
· Sliced raw bananas can be used in stir fry subzis which are served along with chapatis, phulkas etc. It can also be seasoned with basic spices and topped with coconut.
· South Indians use raw bananas to make a recipe called "Podimas". It is basically steamed and grated raw bananas lavoured with basic south indian tempering and lemon juice.
· Peel and thinly slice raw bananas, dip in besan batter and deep fry in hot oil to make hot bhajjis which are a favourite during rainy season. Serve hot with coconut chutney.
· Thinly sliced raw bananas are also deep fried to make chips which can be simply seasoned with salt or with red chilli powder too.
· In countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica etc, raw banana is either fried, boiled or added to a soup.
· Boiled raw banana can be mixed with groundnut paste, pepper, onion and palm oil to make "eto" which is eaten with avocado pear.How to store
Store in refrigerated conditions in a zip lock bag. Cooked and mashed raw banana can be kept in an air tight container for upto 2 days under refrigeration.Health Benefits
· It is a good source of potassium and vitamins like A and C. Potassium helps reduce risk of blood pressure and is also beneficial for our brains and kidneys.
· It is high in carbohydrates and thus an energy booster.
· It is also high in dietary fiber.