The gooey goodness of ripe nendra pazham (banana) mixed with tasty melted Jaggery is what I love about this traditional dish, Nendra Pazham puzhungiyathu. Above all, this is a part of the traditional Kerala cuisine. In kerala, people consider it as both breakfast or snack item.
East African way of steaming their highland bananas
Apparently, even in East African Highlands they peel the bananas they have there, wrap it in the plant’s leaves and set it in the cooking pot, on the stalks from these leaves. Then they put the pot on charcoal fire and steam it for few hours. However, here we talk about the traditional way of doing it, in Kerala.
The tradition of Nendra Pazham Puzhungiyathu
Likewise, people of kerala also serve Nendrapazham puzhungiyathu as a common side dish for Onam sadhya (the traditional Kerala spread for the auspicious days) and even Vishu. At the same time, it also makes for a great combination with puttu, papadam and even upma. I personally love to have the ripe banana steamed with Jaggery (Pazham Puzhungiyathu) with Papadam.
While in most places of Kerala, they steam just the banana placing it on a plantain leaf inside the traditional steamer. Nevertheless, there are also parts of Kerala, where people steam Nendrapazham with Jaggery, adding to its taste. My mom says she picked up this recipe, from my dad’s side of family (hailing from the South Malabar side of Kerala). Well, there could be other places in Kerala doing the same, not that I claiming otherwise. Adding Jaggery is something she never did before, she says.
How do you make Nendra Pazham Puzhungiyathu?
For this, you need a Nendra pazham or Ethapazham, a type of yellow banana particular to Kerala. It is usually difficult to find this in other parts of India, even if not completely unavailable. First, cut it (with the skin on) into four or three chunks (depending on the size of the banana of 3 inches).
Then, take out the traditional steamer or you can even use an idly pot and a steamer basket to make this nendra pazham puzhungiyathu. Then, fill the water into the lower part and then place the steamer basket/ inset back, layered with banana leaves and also add in banana pieces. Alongside, you can add in the Jaggery cubes. Steam it and let it cook, until the Jaggery melts completely and combines with the banana pieces. This is the traditional way of doing it, and I love this way of steaming it the best.
Pressure Cooking Nendrapazham with Jaggery
In contrast, there is also another way to do this. You can use the pressure cooker. Just place the banana pieces and Jaggery into the cooker, with the little amount of required water. Pressure-cook it to the required time, as suggested in your recipe. Then, after a while remove the lid. You might still find some melted Jaggery water in the cooker. If so, keep the cooker with lid uncovered for a bit longer on heat. Do so, until the melted Jaggery combines completely and coats the banana pieces. Now, Nendra Pazham Puzhungiyathu is ready to eat. Serve it warm with Papadam or as a side to Puttu or Upma!
For the recipe, take:
- Two Big Bananas
- Two Jaggery cubes
(You can add this as per taste. I would say more the best if you want it sweet. However, if you are using a very ripe banana, you can tone down on the Jaggery a bit).
In addition, water as required (for steaming or pressure-cooking).
Benefits of Nendra Pazham Puzhungiyathu with Jaggery
Apart from the taste and the tradition, behind it, nendra pazham puzhungiyathu is a nutritious dish as the bananas are high in fibre content. It also helps to ease the digestion and enhances heart health. At the same time, Jaggery is a good blood purifier and it helps to boost immunity, as well. Nendra Pazham Puzhungiyathu or banana steamed with the Jaggery is a delicious dish known not just for the taste, but also for the goodness that it imparts.