Here it is, Sweet Bananas and Coconut, a tempting decadent siren of a dessert. 6 minutes only to make — easy to whip up after a hot curry or when unexpected guests arrive. It is sweet and buttery, so a small amount is enough.
The recipe came from my pile of hundreds of hand written recipes collected over the years. The scribbled notes came from a cooking session with a Chef at the Leela in Kovalam, Kerala on the West Coast of India. It is a Keralite dish, also common in Tamil Nadu.
You might also like to try Pomegranate and Banana Salad, or Flattened Rice with Bananas and Honey. Have a look at all of our recipes from Kerala. Explore some more information about Halwa. Our Banana recipes are here and here. You can also browse our Dessert recipes here. and here.
In the West, we don’t cook much with bananas, preferring them raw, sliced, generally on top of desserts or sweet breakfast dishes. In India and SE Asia, the variety of bananas is much larger and they are used in sweet and savoury dishes, baked, roasted, deepfried, sauteed, steamed, or cooked long and slow to a beautiful sweet mash.
The combination of bananas, ghee, sugar and cardamom, even coconut, is quite common, and often bananas are fried in ghee and then sprinkled with sugar and cardamom. This recipe takes the simplicity of that dish to another level, while remaining remarkable quick and easy.
Keep frozen coconut in the freezer – it is far better than desiccated coconut. If you can’t find it in your supermarket, any Indian shop will have it.
The only change I would make to this recipe is to add a little cardamom powder.
Banana Halwa from Kerala | Banana Coconut Fry | Pazham Varattiyathu
Source: A Hand Written recipe from my year’s old stash of collected recipes
prep time: 2 mins
cooking time: 6 mins max
serves: 1 – 2 depending on how you use it
2 Tblspn ghee
0.5 cup fresh or frozen coconut (defrosted)
4 tspn white sugar (or less – it is sweet)
1 Tblspn sultanas
0.25 tspn cardamom powder
1 – 2 bananas, sliced
slivered almonds or unsalted pistachios (optional)
Heat the ghee over a low heat until melted. Add all the ingredients except for the bananas and almonds or pistachios (if using). Cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Add the sliced bananas and continue to cook gently for another 2 – 3 minutes. The aim is for the bananas to keep their shape, not to mash.
Garnish with the slivered almonds or pistachios if using.
Serve immediately. It must be eaten hot before the ghee solidifies again.
Options: Add a couple of tablespoons of cashews to the ghee in the first step.