I bought a big bunch of nendran banana or pisang tanduk (in Malay) from the market after stumble across the goodness it carries. Unlike other common bananas which can be eaten as it is, the raw nendran banana has to be cooked either as a savory or sweet dish and overly ripe bananas can be concocted into fritters, halwa, sweet pudding or even steamed and later sprinkled with palm sugar and grated coconut. This type of banana is also known as cooking banana which taste heavenly delicious after the cooking process. Sweet, sour and tartness of the banana give a unique blend of flavor when used in food preparation. Nendran banana is also rich in dietary fiber and potassium. I made banana fritters and banana halwa using those bananas. The halwa was soft, chewy and not too sweet as the natural sourness counterbalances the other elements in that sweet dessert. I prefer to make fruit based halwa as I can reduce more than half the quantity of sugar recommended in that type of Indian dessert as fruits such as pineapple, apple, durian, papaya and banana are sugar contained. Jaggery or palm sugar can be substituted with the ordinary sugar.
Ingredients for making banana halwa (using Nendran banana or Pisang Tanduk) :
Ripe bananas : 1 medium and 1 big (pureed banana pulp of 2 cups)
Jaggery or palm sugar or brown sugar : 3/4 cup
Ghee or clarified butter : 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Cardamon powder : a pinch
Method :1. Puree the chopped bananas in a liquidizer to a super smooth paste. Do not add water while grinding.
2. Measure the pureed banana pulp to 2 cups.
3. I encourage you to buy good quality organic jaggery or brown sugar as less impurities will be there. Measure the brown sugar to 3/ 4 cup. If the banana that you are using has got extra sweetness, than you may only use 1/2 cup of brown sugar.
4. In a wide heavy bottom pan, add 1/8 cup of ghee to fry the banana paste till it becomes thick and slightly dry. You must cook the banana in ghee for at least 15 minutes before adding sugar.
5. After that, add brown sugar, now and then you can also add the balance ghee and keep stirring continuously.
6. You have to keep on stirring till ghee oozes out of halwa and the halwa changes colour to dark brown.The halwa mixture should also leave the sides of the pan easily. Add more ghee when you have difficulty to stir.
7. When you take a small pinch of halwa, you should be able to form a soft and chewy ball with your index finger and thumb. That's the right stage to remove halwa from the heat.
8. Cut the halwa to small square pieces after cooling for 3 hours. Use knife blade heated in flame to cut the pieces without having difficulty.