Baked Bananas Stuffed with tamarind Flavored Coconut
Bananas are native to India and are one of the most popular fruits of the nation. There are said to be staggering 400 varieties of bananas. Even so, they are divided into only two categories: eating and cooking. In this dish, a small, very sweet eating banana, either yellow or red-skinned, is preferred. Known as lady fingers or golden fingers, they are often available in Mexican or Indian grocery stores. Though they are traditionally baked in softened banana leaf wrappers on a coal-fed oven, I find that they bake wonderfully in any oven and in almost any type of baking dish.
Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
• Instant tamarind concentrate (available at Indian groceries) – 2 table spoons (30 ml)
• Water – 1 ½ table spoon (22 ml)
• Minced fresh mint – 1 table spoon (15 ml) or Dried mint – ½ teaspoon (2 ml)
• Cayenne pepper – 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) or paprika – ¼ teaspoon (1 ml)
• Grated fresh or dried coconut – 3 table spoons (45 ml)
• Garam masala – 1 teaspoon (5 ml)
• Ajwain seeds or fennel seeds, crushed – ½ teaspoon (2 ml)
• Salt – ¼ teaspoon (1 ml)
• Firm ripe bananas – 8 small (no more than 6-7 inches (15-18.5 cm) long, preferably “finger” bananas, red or yellow, 4-5 inches (10-12.5 cm) long )
• Slivered almonds – 3 table spoons (455 ml)
• Maple syrup – ½ cup (120 ml)
• Finely chopped crystallized ginger – 2 table spoons (30 ml)
• Lime and orange juice – 1 table spoon (15 ml) ach
• Melted butter – 2 table spoons (30 ml)
1. Combine the tamarind concentrate with water and whisk with a fork until blended. Add the mint, cayenne or paprika, coconut, garam masala, ajwaini or fennel seeds and salt, and toss to mix.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Peel the bananas and, using a sharp paring knife, cut a slit about two-thirds through the flesh lengthwise, leaving ¼ inch (6 mm) uncut at each end. Very carefully ease the tamarind-coconut mixture evenly into the slits. Arrange in a single layer in a baking dish and scatter slivered almonds over the bananas.
3. Combine the maple syrup, crystallized ginger, lime and orange juice and butter in a bowl and stir until blended. Pour the syrup over the bananas and blake for about 20 minutes, basting occasionally to keep them moist. Serve with a drizzle of the thickened syrup, either warm or at room temperature.
8 side dish servings
8 side dish servings
By Yamuna Devi Dasi