The Humble Banana

When my eldest aunt, Padmasini Periyamma The First day – Meeting inspiration, got married, my mother was all of 2 years old. My grandfather went to drop Periyamma off at her in-laws place in Kolkata, and Amma went along in the train. Right through the two days of travelling by train, Vedavalli ate bananas for food. Refused to eat anything else, just a banana every time hunger hit her.

Like mother, like daughter. I have spent many days of my childhood eating just a banana whenever I felt hungry. I was a fussy eater and now am very “particular” 🙄.

When we moved to Delhi in 1997, the thing I missed the most was the variety of bananas that you get down south. My favourite Rasthali is not available in Delhi NCR, nor is the tiny utterly sweet Yellaki.

Today at the Uzhavar Sandhai I clicked a picture of a banana seller’s stall –

Just see the number of varieties !!
Banana Yellaki
This is the Yellaki variety
Banana Poovan
The Poovan variety

The poovan banana can be sometimes slightly sweet-sour.

Banana Karpooravalli
The karpooravalli variety – yet to ripen
Banana Chevvazhai
Red Banana or Chevvazhai

The Red bananas are one variety that I don’t eat at all. I don’t like their taste, but these are medicinal.

Banana - Nendran
Nendran Pazham – Kerala’s famous banana chips are made using this variety

You can’t eat many Nendran Pazhams as they are nutritionally dense. In Kerala they would steam these bananas and eat it with Puttu. My favourite combination.

Banana Rasthali
My favourite Rasthali

According to me, one can live on Rasthali. This variety is only available in the southern states, mostly TamilNadu and Kerala. Ofcourse Karnataka has several varieties of bananas and the Rasthali as well. Haven’t seen this in Hyderabad much.

The most common banana variety is the Robusta, but unfortunately that has lost all the taste because of artificial ripening and GM plants. We don’t buy bananas in Gurgaon unless Sanesa or one of our organic suppliers brings them.

Finally, the Vazhakkai or Raw banana for making curries, subzi etc –

Raw Banana
This is only for making as a curry or subzi … they aren’t allowed to ripen

Do read this fantastic blog – 12 tasty varieties of Bananas in India.

Go Bananas ! They are a complete food by themselves. Especially when you travel in South India, try all the varieties that you get here.

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