Many of us have eaten cakes baked in a clay stove wrapped in banana leaves, most probably in childhood as those are not that available these days.
The dough is first made by mixing rice flour, sugar or molasses with jackfruit or palm juice. When the dough is set in the banana leaves’ wrapping and left to bake in the burning charcoal, it gives off a wonderful aroma.
It is also an ancient custom of villages in this subcontinent to serve food on banana leaves to avoid the hassle of plates in organising big feasts. Also, rural weddings used to have banana tree decorations.
Banana is one of the most popular fruits all over the world. One reason for this may be its availability. Its yield is possible from the mountains to the plains and even in the desert. Not only the fruit, other parts of the plant such as inside-stem, plantain flower, etc. are edible and full of nutrients.
Bananas are a healthy source of fibre, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and various antioxidants and phytonutrients. One serving of one medium ripe banana provides about 110 calories, 0-gram fat, 1-gram protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams sugar (naturally occurring), 3 grams fibre and 450 mg potassium.
Raw bananas are eaten by cooking as a curry. Especially in digestive problems, there is no alternative to raw banana curry as a diet for the patient. Fun snacks like cutlets and chips can also be made with raw bananas which are rich in iron and various minerals.
Mocha (Plantain flower) bhaji is a popular and traditional dish of rural Bengal. This delicious food, Mocha contains vitamin C and antioxidants. So, it slows down premature ageing and the impression of age by reducing wrinkles.
The antioxidants in Mocha prevents oxidation decay, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Bhorta and Bhaji prepared from the inner-stem of the banana tree (aka Kolar Thor) are still popular items of many traditional restaurants in Bangladesh.
It helps increase digestive energy and removes toxic elements from the body. It contains a lot of fibre which helps in removing fats and sugars from the body and also helps in relieving constipation.
Many people do not like to eat over-ripped bananas. However, they are not waste either as they have a variety of uses too. Paste of the over-ripped banana is used in skin and hair care. It can also be used to make delicious pancakes.
Overall, banana is a fruit with lots of nutrition and usage as the famous Marcus Samuelsson, Ethiopian Swedish American celebrity chef, says,
“If you get hungry mid-day, a banana is the best snack at your desk, after a workout, or in between classes. Fruit is a very good snack in general.”