Monday, 21 November 2011



1)    Fresh green (Nendran or Robusta) banana peel – 500 gm.
2)    Medium hot dry red chili – 4 Nos.
3)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
4)    Salt – 1 teaspoon
5)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 100 gm. (for the sweet version only)

To Cook:
Wash and remove both ends of the banana peel. Cut the banana peel lengthwise into 4 pieces. Pile up the long pieces and slice across into thin strips of around 3 to 4 cm. length and 2 to 3 mm. thickness.

Break the red chilies each into 2 or 3 pieces. Set a cast iron wok on the stove. Pour in a tablespoonful of coconut oil. Throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as they are about to finish crackling, throw in the broken red chili pieces. Stir once and tip in the banana peel pieces. Pour in a glass of water. Tip in the salt. Stir with an iron ladle. Keep the ladle in the wok and cover with a lid or cloche. Cook the upkari on medium heat.
If you want it to be sweet, add either 100 gm. of crushed jaggery or melted and sieved jaggery (the latter is better since any sand or dirt which may be present in the former can be avoided). The jaggery can be melted by heating it up with a little bit of water. If you do not have jaggery, you can also use enough sugar to suit our taste (jaggery of course, is healthier and tastier).
Stir occasionally. After 8 to 10 minutes, taste and see whether the peel is cooked. If not, continue to cook a little bit longer. If the peel is cooked but a little water is remaining at the bottom, turn up the heat and stir till all the excess water evaporates. Your banana peel upkari is ready to serve. This dark, iron-rich, delicious banana peel upkari is a favorite Konkani side dish served with rice.

1)    The juice of the banana peel dissolves a tiny bit of the cast iron wok and of the soft iron ladle to give you a very special dish rich in iron and minerals in a form that your body can easily assimilate. It is very good for anemic people, pregnant women, growing children, athletes and old people. Moreover, the peel contains a lot of dietary fiber which helps keep your digestive system in robust health.
The humble banana peel, so often thrown away by mischief mongers on pavements (to watch people slip and fall comically) holds more to it than it would appear at first sight. Many delicious culinary delights can be made out of banana peel.

2)    Commercially grown Nendran banana sometimes contain systemic pesticides. If you live at a place where the minimum temperature does not drop below 15 degrees Celsius, you can easily grow super tasty Nendran bunches in your kitchen garden through organic farming.

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