Learn how to make BaLekai Sippe/Raw Banana Peel Palya ~ Vegan hot and sour raw banana skin stir fry with South Indian spices
Last one year has been a crazy year for us, with many twists and turns which made us gasp and halt before we gingerly stepped forward. It was not an easy year for us, but at the same time it turned out to be a very special and most memorable one.
When I wrote this post a year ago about starting a new chapter of our life in India, I had no idea that we will be back in Britain exactly in a year! It’s funny how we think that we have sorted out everything, smoothed the little wrinkly problems, prepared for every challenges that life throws at us and feel that we have planned even the minute thing to last detail, there will still be a little glitch that will pop up somewhere on the way of our near-perfect and well planned life! Well, it didn’t take long to learn even the best laid plans can fail sometimes. Life has taught me many things, and the recent lesson made me realise how important it is to live in a moment and not moan over things when they fail to meet our expectations. In everybody’s life there is a point of no return, a point where we can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point in our life, all we can do is quietly accept the fact and face reality. Well that the thing about lessons, you always learn them when you don’t or least expect them!
BaLekai Sippe/Raw Banana Peel Palya served with Kerala matta rice and banana crisps
The move which we both expected to work to our best interests didn’t work for many reasons; job, school, commute to work, etc. which were still workable and manageable. Money was never the issue as it was never the deciding factor for our move in the first place! We thought we can work around the little glitches and fix the nagging bits and pieces to make our dream of living in India a happy one as a family. The whole move to India was built on a hope and dream of spending more time with our immediate family and close friends. But this dream came with a high price which became the deciding factor for another difficult decision of our lives! The steep vertical drop in time spent as a family when K’s job kept him away from home for more than quarter of a year made us realise what is really important to us as a family. Living in India was a dream which came with a heavy cost; a cost which we were not prepared to pay as we saw less of K when his job demanded too much of his time and took him across the globe for more than we were prepared to compromise on. We tried to work around the problem and wished to make it a success. If there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so! It was a painful and most difficult decision to move back, leaving behind our loved one once again. May be it was not our time to live there, but there is certainly no regret about the decision we took a year ago. It was a gamble which unfortunately didn’t pay, but what a wonderful time we’ve had there!
So we are back to where we started this whole journey! We packed our lives in suitcases, bubble wraps and brown cardboard boxes and shipped them to India; only to repack them and come back to the UK, all in the span of one crazy year! A year which sometime felt like it was flying at lightning speed and other times felt excruciatingly snail paced. It was a year of adventure, fun, joy, compromises, let downs, tears, arguments, panic, ups, downs, celebrations, bonding, stress, decisions, and finding peace with oneself! In short, a mixed bag of everything that life throws at you! Life may not be always pretty, but it sure is beautiful!
As we wait for our shipment to arrive, as we continue to live a life out of suitcases in a holiday cottage; I am trying to find my voice by pushing the writer’s block that’s kept me away from blogging all this time. It may be the overwhelming homesickness or not having any friends to talk to in this corner of the mighty Britain, but finally, I feel that I am ready to share little snippets of our life with recipes of the amazing food that we enjoyed!
The place which is going to be our home for next few years is a beautiful, idyllic one. The unspoilt scenic beauty of this place just knocks one’s breath away! Only nagging bit is there is no Indian grocery shop on our doorsteps, not even within a hundred miles away, and it is making me little sad and well, really homesick! I love shopping, especially shopping for groceries and there is no greater joy than able to walk into a little Indian shop that sells fresh veggies, spices and groceries from back home which makes me quite happy. The aroma of spices, the sight of colourful lentils and fresh veggies from home makes me giddy with joy and this is what I am really going to miss. So I am trying to find joy when I fill my basket from online Indian grocery shops while I long to pick the tender vegetables, freshest greens and best ingredients. ~Sigh~ The word ‘compromise’ and ‘adjust’ is my new mantra and I guess I will have to stick to them for a while…
So while browsing through the food photographs which I took during my year in India, I came across this recipe of BaLekai Sippe Palya or Vegan Raw Banana Peel Stir Fry which my Amma had made for us. It is a simple recipe which uses raw banana skins which are otherwise discarded after using the banana flesh in cooking. These raw bananas were from my uncle’s farm and have less fibrous skin which makes them ideal for cooking many delicacies. Among all those delicacies made using the peel, this simple vegan spicy and sour raw banana skin stir fry with South Indian spices tops my list. It’s simple to make, quite healthy, makes best use of ingredient that otherwise is binned without a second thought and most importantly, very delicious to taste. Without much further ado, shall we get cooking?
Raw banana peels for BaLekai Sippe Palya
BaLekai Sippe/Raw Banana Peel Palya (Vegan hot and sour raw banana skin stir fry with South Indian spices)
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Recipe Level: Beginner to Intermediary
Spice Level: Medium to Hot
Serves: 4-6 people
Shelf Life: Best served fresh, but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days
Recipe Source: My Amma
Serving Suggestion: With rosematta (Kerala matta rice) rice or sona masuri rice and ghee
Skin/Peel of 5-6 large Raw Bananas, cut into 1 cm pieces (About 2½-3cups) and soak it in a bowl of cold water until required
1-2 Green Chillies, slit (Adjust as per taste)
1 small lime sized Tamarind Pulp, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and juice extracted
1-1½ tbsp Jaggary or Palm Sugar (Adjust as per taste)
Salt to taste
½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
½-1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust as per taste)
1 tsp Rasam Powder (Adjust as per taste)
½ tsp Dhania/Coriander Powder
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Urad Dal/Split Black Lentils
1 Dry Red Chilli, halved
A generous pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
1-2 springs Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Oil (Preferably coconut oil)
- Apply coconut oil or any other cooking oil to your palms as the sticky gum from raw banana peel can leave stains on your hand and nails when working with them. Chop the banana peels into 1 cm pieces and soak them in a bowl of cold water until needed to prevent them from discolouring.
- Heat oil in a kadai/wok on medium flame and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, dry red chilli and hing. When mustard seeds start to pop and splutter and the urad dal turns golden brown, add curry leaves and slit green chillies and give them a quick stir.
- Mix in chopped raw banana skin and increase the heat to high. Stir fry them for 2-3 minutes on high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium and mix in turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and jaggary. Mix them well and let them cook for a minute or two.
- Next add the tamarind extract and salt to taste. Pour in about ¼ cup of water and mix them all well.
- Cover the wok with lid and let it cook undisturbed for 5 minutes on medium flame.
- Add the rasam powder, if using, and mix them well. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle a tbsp or two of water and mix them all well. Let it cook for another 4-5 minutes until the raw banana skin is cooked through.
- Serve this delicious and healthy BaLekai Sippe Palya or Raw Banana Peel Palya with rice, ghee and rasam/dal and enjoy!
Raw banana peel stir fry served with Kerala matta rice and banana chips
- Apply coconut oil or any other cooking oil to your palms as the sticky gum from raw banana peel can leave stains on your hand and nails when working with them.
- Soak the chopped raw banana peels in a bowl of cold water until needed to prevent them from discolouring.