Sunday, 11 December 2011



1)    Fully mature raw Nendran banana – 400 gm. (2 Nos. approx.)
2)    Mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
3)    Cumin seeds – ¼ teaspoon
4)    Black pepper corns – ¼ teaspoon
5)    Powdered salt – ½ teaspoon
6)    Coconut oil – 1½ tablespoons
7)    Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
To Cook:
Cut off the tips of the banana. Cut lengthwise into 2 halves. Cut each half again lengthwise into 2 quarters. Now slice each quarter across into 3 mm. thick pieces (along with the peel)

Set a small pan on low heat. Put in the cumin seeds and the black pepper corns. Stir for a minute. You can smell the nice aroma of the roasting seeds. Switch off the heat and transfer to a mortar. Use the pestle to crush the seeds to fine powder.
Set a thick cast iron wok on high heat. Pour in the oil and throw in the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds are about to finish popping, tip in the banana pieces, the salt, the turmeric powder and the crushed powder. Stir well, turn down the heat and cover with a lid. Use a lightweight flat ladle to gently stir occasionally taking care not to allow the banana to stick to the base or to shatter.
Keep the lid on most of the time except while stirring. Let the banana roast and cook very slowly on low heat. This slow pace of cooking will enhance the taste. Taste to see if cooked. If yes, you can add more salt or pepper powder if you want it saltier or hotter. This traditional version is neither too salty nor hot but has a nice mild taste. As soon as the banana pieces turn golden yellow, the mezhugupuratty is ready to serve.

Nendran mezhugupuratty is traditionally served as a side dish to rice or to rice gruel or to cherupayar kanji. This practice developed in ancient times in Kerala when English or Chinese vegetables were not available. Nendran banana was both the fruit as well as the vegetable which was abundantly at hand and quite tasty and healthy too.
There were no pesticides and the only fertilizers were farmyard manure (cow or goat), wood ash and dry or green leaves. That is how so many delightful dishes with Nendran and the chief ingredient developed in Malayali and Kerala Konkani cuisines. The Konkani equivalent of Nendran mezhugupuratty with slightly different taste is nandrabala upkari. Both are equally delicious and chewy. Cook both and enjoy. If possible, make sure to plant some Nendran banana suckers (small plants) in your backyard (your winter temperature should not fall below 15° Celsius), for almost every part of the plant is edible: the pith, the fruit at every stage of maturity, the banana peel and also the flower cone.

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