Deep fried plantain in creamy tomato gravy ~ Banana 65
Last evening I decided to walk back to home from work. It’s not exactly a long walk as our cosy little nest is just over 3 miles from my work place and at my leisurely pace it takes around 40 minutes to reach home with some dozen plus traffic signals dotted around. Winter is at its peak right now. I noticed just a few people walking beside me.
As more and more vehicles zoomed past us, I noticed the other people walking with and around me. Some were walking briskly, rubbing their cold hands and breathing hard. The steady streams of breath vapour coming out from their nose and open mouth and they seemed to be in a great hurry to reach their destination. Some seemed to be in no great rush, taking slow steps and looking around the shops and their window display. They stopped in between, sometimes to admire the window displays in the shops and other times just to look at other people. As for me, I blended well with a surrounding, walking at leisure and became an observer, wondering what story every individual had to say.
Rich, creamy tomato gravy flavoured with roasted mustard and fenugreek powder ~ Banana 65
There was young mother, more like a child herself, pushing the stroller. She looked kind of lost, little irritated and quite helpless when she just couldn’t pacify her crying baby. The look of inexperience and helplessness was so clear from her tired, sleep deprived face. Then there was an old man walking slowly with a walking stick and wearing brown, aged corduroy jacket and thick black framed glasses which made his grey cataract eyes look even bigger than they actually were. A small group of teenagers walked past me, making lot of noise and laughing out loud for the silly jokes. They were free spirited, enjoying the freedom that comes without any responsibilities. Then there was a grubby faced homeless guy, wearing tattered cloths, torn shoes, wool scarf that had seen a better days and sad look. I wondered how he must be surviving in this cold winter where temperature drops to minus without showing any mercy! Just when I was feeling sad for the homeless chap, an old couple passed me hand-in-hand and walking slowly, with a smile on their wrinkled face that reached their eyes and warmed my heart!
Normally I can’t be bothered to look around and watch other people as I have thousand and one things going in my mind. But that day I was not just a mere walker. I saw myself as an observer, who got a chance to glimpse at other people’s world. Their real world may be far different from what I visualised, but for me their actions, their expressions and their body language narrated a story of its own! Usually the busy bee buzzing in my body doesn’t allow me to think beyond the happenings in my life. But that day the busy bee didn’t buzz for attention nor it stung me with the reality of long to-do list that I never seem to tick it off no matter how much hard I work. For one day I forgot all my work, worries, and other random things in life and just became a part of the world which was much different from my own. Strangely I found myself relaxing, going with a flow and letting myself go… May be I needed something of this, just to forget about myself and put myself in other person’s shoes. Some of them made me feel blessed for whatever I have and be happy with it. Some of them made me sad and reminded me of the fact that it’s been ages since I did any voluntary work for our community. Some of they made me eager to go home and be with my loved ones. And some reminded me how lucky I am to have all the unconditional love, care, friendship and affection I get from my family and friends and even from strangers…
I am talking about you, my dear readers, who have been showering me with kind and encouraging words every single day. Apart from leaving encouraging comments in my blog, every day when I open my mail box I find at least of two emails from you. You share your recipes, shower me with your words of appreciation, and even find time to share and laugh with me about the kitchen disasters happened in early days of cooking! That’s when I find the human connection and the lines between the virtual worlds slowly narrows and then reach out to my real world. You make sharing more fun, be it a recipe, my never ending rants or a snippets from my world. You were/are always here to listen to my ramblings patiently, and sometimes you even lend your shoulder to me during most difficult times. You were not just my co-walkers but also have become my friends over these 6 and half years of blogging. I can be myself, without any pretence or mask, and share little things that make who I am! So thank you for being a part of my small world. Before this post goes out of track, let me share one wonderful recipe with you all…
Deep fried plantain in creamy tomato gravy ~ Banana 65
Today’s recipe is little bit unusual and may be something that is unheard for most of you. It was to me till the day I stumbled on it while going through one of my most loved and used cookbooks, 100 Vegetarian Gravies by Ms. Mallika Badrinath. It is Banana 65. Unlike Gobi 65 which we all are familiar with, this Banana 65 involves deep frying of plantains sans any batter. Thick rounds of plantains are deep fried till brown and then added to thick, spicy tomato gravy. This tomato gravy has very earthy and nutty flavour due to addition of roasted and ground mustard and fenugreek seeds. The end product is something that will leave you licking your fingers and plates clean. This recipe of Banana 65 has a very unique taste and flavour which you will experience for the first time. It is very different to the usual tomato-onion based curries and it sure to leave its own stamp in your taste memories. If you are not too fond of plantains of deep fried plantains for that matter, I am sure that you will find many new ways of using the same gravy recipe with other main ingredient. So without much ado, let’s cook some delicious Banana 65, shall we?
Plantain/Raw Banana for Banana 65
Deep fried Plantain rounds for Banana 65
Stack it up ~ Deep fried Plantain/Raw Banana rounds
Banana 65 (Deep fried raw banana/plantain in creamy tomato gravy)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 6-8 people
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Low to medium
Shelf Life: Best served fresh but can be refrigerated for 2-3 days
Recipe Source: 100 Vegetarian Gravies by Mallika Badrinath
Serving Suggestion: With plain or flavoured rice or with any Indian flat bread
2 large Plantains, peeled and cut into ½ inch rounds
3 large Onions, thinly sliced
1 canned/tinned Tomatoes or 4-5 large Tomato, pureed
5 large cloves/flakes Garlic, chopped
1½ tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 tsp Sugar (Optional)
Salt to taste
Handful of Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp + Oil for deep frying
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Coriander Powder (Optional)
1 tsp Garam Masala (Adjust acc to taste)
½ tsp Kitchen King Masala (Optional)
1 tsp Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
Deep fried plaintains served in unique blend of roasted mustard and fenugreek flavoured creamy tomato gravy
- Dry roast fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds separately till they turn golden. Let them cool before grinding them to fine powder using pestle and mortar. Keep them aside until needed.
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan/kadai and deep fry plantain rounds in batches until they turn brown in colour. Transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen towel to drain any excess oil.
- While the plantains are deep frying, proceed to make base sauce.
- Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and add chopped garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds and then add thinly sliced onions. Cook the onions till they start to brown, about 3-4 mins.
- Once the onions are cooked, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the raw smell disappears, about 2 mins, on medium heat.
- Add tomato puree and let it come to gentle boil, about 4-5 mins.
- Now add all the spice powders, except for fenugreek and mustard powder, one by one and give it a good stir.
- Mix in deep fried plantains, salt to taste and about 2 cups of water. Let the gravy cook for 5-7 mins till it starts to thicken and comes to boil.
- Add roasted and powdered fenugreek powder and mustard powder and mix them well.
- Switch off the flame and add finely chopped coriander leaves. Let this delicious Banana 65 sit for 10-15 mins before serving.
- Serve this creamy and aromatic curry of Banana 65 with plain or flavoured Basmati rice or pair it with any Indian flat bread and enjoy!
Earthy, rustic, and flavoursome ~ Banana 65
- Do NOT place the plantain rounds in water for preventing it from discolouring as you would normally do for other plantain curries. This is mainly due to the fact that these plantain rounds will be deep fried for Banana 65. Instead cut the plantains in batches just before you put them in oil for deep frying.
- If you are health conscious, you can pan fry banana slices on low to medium flame instead of deep frying. Please note that the cooking time will increase by at least 10 mins as it takes longer time for the plantain slices to cook through while pan frying. I wouldn’t suggest baking them as they will turn quite rubbery and dry while baking or grilling. But I have noticed that the plantains do not absorb too much of oil when deep fried.
- Freshly roasted and ground fenugreek and mustard powder takes the flavour quotient to another level. So please do not omit these two ingredients.