Travel and Traditions…Go Bananas…

Bananas grow everywhere here…In gardens, by the roadside and on plantations…

Its scientific name is Musa Sapientum which roughly translated  means  Fruit of wise  men

Here it is called Kluay pronounced glue eye.

Seasons vary slightly around the regions and it is a tree-like perennial and officially classed as a herb, the world’s largest herb as it can reach 25 feet in height. The fruit is also classed as a berry. Did you know that?

Here in Thailand leaves are used to serve food on or wrap food in like these little parcels of tri-coloured sticky rice topped with shredded pork floss.

Tri Cloured sticky rice with pulled pork

The saying that you eat with your eyes certainly applies here as so much of the food is just so beautifully served and such lovely colours like this rice isn’t it pretty and all wrapped in a banana leaf.

Banana flowers are, as the name suggests, the blossoms from a banana tree. Left on the tree, considered as a vegetable.  It’s a very good source of fibre and has many medicinal values.

Banana flower

Banana flowers are the purplish-red flowers growing at the end of the long banana stem. The mature flower often has hard husks on the outside. When the husks have been peeled away, the leaves in the middle can be used to cook. It is also used to make a salad in some countries as well. If you are about to buy some for cooking, you should make sure to choose the fresh ones which are tight and undamaged. The outer husks should be closely overlapped each other for freshness purposes.

The flower can be eaten steamed with a spicy dip or made into a salad…For banana, recipes see this post…

We also have Plantain…

The plantain is a member of the banana family but unless it is very ripe should not be eaten raw…Boiled it is similar to the potato…Raw they have a bitter taste but ripe they are full of flavour …

A good source of fibre and Vitamins A and C with most of its calories coming from carbohydrates.

Not so sweet as a banana the plantain is a staple food in tropical countries a non-seasonal crop it is available year-round.

Plantains can be simmered in soup or turned into mash, but their subtle taste is maximised by roasting or frying. They act as a foil to rich flavours such as spicy meat or bean stews. Salted fried plantain chips are a popular snack in the Caribbean.

Spoiler Alert: These recipes are quite calorific but as a very occasional treat…Very nice…

Very popular in West African baked with eggs and peppers they make a lovely breakfast frittata. Fried the onions and pepper before adding it to the egg mixture to give it added flavour. Together with garlic, scotch bonnet pepper or hot sauce, smoked paprika, and thyme.  You may add other additional spices to make it more flavorful. Also lovely with some added sausage or bacon.

If you have some really ripe plantains then blitz one or two in your food processor and add to your pancake batter it will take the humble pancake to another level.

Serve with a Coconut sauce and you will never want to eat pancakes any other way… To make the sauce take a can or 14 fl ounces of coconut milk add a cup of brown sugar bring it to a slow rolling boil then stirring cook until the mixture thickens and had reduced by half you know have a beautiful coconut sauce which is lovely over the pancakes or any other sweet dessert.

This lovely dry spice mix goes well with the plantain.

  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tbsp ground cloves

Measure and mix the spices together and store in a small container with a lid.

Spiced Plantain chips…

  • 1 heaped tbsp of the spice mix
  • 1 sm red onion, grated
  • 2 in a piece of fresh ginger grated
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4-6 plantains peeled and sliced
  • A handful of roasted peanuts, crushed.

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl add the plantain and mix gently to coat ( hands are good) and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Heat the oil to 180 degrees and fry the plantain chips in batches. When golden and they have floated to the surface remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Serve sprinkled with the crushed nuts.

As well as Thailand being a great source of the Banana...How about a trip to  Banana Beach here in Phuket?

A small beach which can only be accessed by climbing down …Just as well I had Aston to help me and take my hand he is such a good boy to his Nannie…

Track to banana beach (2)

It was a little way down and a bit slippery in places…But finally, we were on the beach…

It was well worth the climb apart from somewhere to buy a soft drink and a snack, a few boats offering trips to neighbouring islands just lovely sand and blue sea…

We spent a lovely few hours there just relaxing it was beautiful…

Nam Pboon Sai…A red banana dessert…

How was it made…The translation from my daughter in law was it is lime powder…from limes? Apparently not…It is a red powder she said…Ok…

Where does my red Lime powder fit in well it is sold here and apparently some of the powder is rubbed under the top gum of the mouth…I was warned( not) that I had any intention of doing that …To be careful it may burn!!!!!!!!

I was also getting a lot of surprised looks and smiles which translated I think meant what is this lady doing buying that… just as well I had Tik with me to translate that I wasn’t intending to smoke or rub it under my gums but cook…They still looked slightly bemused but I am used to that now.

I just wanted to know and see what made this Banana dessert red…..

To make red lime, powdered turmeric is added to the mixture. Instead of turning yellow like turmeric, this pasty mixture turns bright red. Nam Pboon Sai or limewater is made when more water is added to the mixture. When the lime settles, the clear, pinkish water above is used in cooking.

Limewater is used in Thai cooking to keep fruit used in long cooking like a banana in syrup or breadfruit in syrup. The fruit is peeled and cut and let soak in the lime water.

The grandmother here stores her red lime paste in a jar filled with water. The heavier lime sinks to the bottom while the clear limewater floats above.  When she needs the limewater, it’s ready. She would pour the clear pinkish water out from the jar. She just tops up the limewater by adding more water to the jar. There is also no need to refrigerate limewater or lime paste.

Just a word of warning…

sweet radish croneck squah and red lime powder

The powder I bought was available in red or white but apparently also comes as a red paste. It is pictured here with the pretty eggplants I found…

If you get pickling lime from hardware stores, which often have canning materials available, make sure you get the food-grade quality. The lime building material may contain a metal such as lead.

This is where I began to get quite scared as I know that there are some who just mix whatever they have to sell with no regard for the consequences.

The bananas in this desert look bright and shiny and sweet but are not as sweet as they look… I have found a recipe and now need to find the right bananas…So that is for another day…

That is all for today...I am still on my girlie jolly so please if I don’t answer your comments I will catch up when I return…Sophia and Roxy are in town…xx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on  MeWe

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: 

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Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead xx


13 thoughts on “Travel and Traditions…Go Bananas…

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Weekly Roundup…Budgets, Fire in the Amazon, Bananas and more… | Retired? No one told me!

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I must admit I didn’t know there were so many different varieties until I lived here, John we only had the one sort when I lived in England …Thank you for dropping in…Enjoy your weekend 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Norah

    I haven’t seen, or even thought about, banana flowers before. How interesting.
    Those three colours of rice with pork wrapped in a banana skin look delicious. We should use more natural products like banana skins for wrapping food.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I agree Norah and they look so much more inviting as well…I didn’t know about banana flowers until I lived here either, Norah …Yes I loved that little parcel it did look so pretty 🙂 x Enjoy your weekend 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        No worries Norah.. I am having a lovely weekend and pleased you have… Nobody is on a stop watch here we all juggle our time and some things take presidence… Have a great week 😊x

        Liked by 1 person

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