Bananas are one of the most cherished and loved ingredients so widely available that we are pretty sure everyone loves them. This raw, elongated, starchy fruit (botanically a berry) is a great friend of a morning cup cappuccino and a bowl of oats (with honey or condensed milk, of course). It’s so common, yet many mistakenly take it as a palm gift. But bananas do not grow on trees, it’s a product of large herbaceous flowering plants. Grown, according to Wikipedia, in 135 countries, so chances are you know what they are. But, beyond regular fruit consumption, there are so many foods and drinks made from bananas! You will go bananas! Take Tanzanian banana wine for instance. To make it, bananas are mashed, diluted with water, boiled, filtered, and to that sugar and wine yeast are added in order to ferment the formed juice.
Bananas are eaten baked or steamed with rice, stewed into curries, deep-fried with bacon, introduced into batters and doughs, simply dried and eaten as chips or ground into banana flour. And one of our favorites is pisang goreng, an Indian staple that all of us know as banana fritters.
Sweet or savory, we love them both, no doubt. But what do you do with bananas that start to brown? This answer depends on which turn you decide to take: desert or condiment. If you have a sweet tooth, choose the former and make one-ingredient ice cream. Yes, that’s right. All you have to do is to get your hands on a ripe banana, peel it, chop it and freeze it for at least two hours. Then you’ll need to transfer the frozen banana pieces into a small food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse to break everything, keep on going until you have a nice banana puree, gooey mash. A little more effort and you shift from that to creamy soft-serve ice cream! Top it with fruit compote, marmalade or mix with some peanut butter.
If, however, you decide to choose the second, savory, path, you’re welcome to cook banana ketchup. For that, you’ll need 2 tsp vegetable oil. Heat a pan and add oil, 3 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tsp chopped chili, 2 tsp grated ginger, ½ tsp ground turmeric, ¼ tsp allspice and fry everything for a minute or so. Then add 4 chopped bananas, 120 ml / ½ cup apple vinegar, 2 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp rum, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, season with salt and pepper. Turn down the heat, stir often for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Then transfer everything to a blender and break everything into a smooth puree. Season accordingly if needed. Enjoy on hot dogs and between burger buns.