Banana Halwa is an all-time favorite of the Konkanis and as such is a must in the menu for almost all Konkani weddings. It is a delicacy from the Mangalore/Udupi area although the bananas themselves originate from across the border in Kearla. In fact, when I was based in Kerala in the 80s, I prepared this dish and served it to my neighbours who were really surprised to know that it was made from those bananas. These are the same bananas from which the banana chips [ See my recipe for Banana chips ] are made.
To prepare halwa we need the over ripe bananas. Just ripe ones will not be very sweet and also will not gain the colour and consistency for the dish. So we get the just ripe bananas from the market and wrap it in news paper and rest it for 3-4 days and it will be ready by then.
Just ripe Nendra Bananas
What you need to have:
1. Extra ripe Nendra Banana pulp 1 cup
2. Sugar 1 cup
3. Pure ghee 1/4 cup
4. Lemon juice 1 Teaspoon
Extra ripe Nendra Bananas
Ingredients of Banana Halwa
What you do with what you have:
1. Cook the above shown overripe bananas in the cooker for about 15 minutes till it is soft in a bowl without adding water. (See above image)
2. On cooling peal it and grind those cooked bananas with the required quantity of sugar in the mixer and the mixed pulp is as shown in the image below.
Banana and sugar mixed pulp
3. Place a broad and thick based bowl on the flame with 2-3 teaspoons of pure ghee in it. On melting add the above pulp to it and keep stiring on a medium flame.
4. Keep stiring and shuttling the back and forth from high to medium till you get the pulp thickened. In between add 3-4 teaspoons of pure ghee as well so that it does not stick to the bottom.
5. After around 15 minutes add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to it. This causes the pulp to thicken and also turns out almost little smoother than the chapathi dough. To check if you are done, drop a little in normal water and it tuns like a round ball if you roll. When done, spread the mix on a wodden plank and is shown in the image below.
Halwa mixture spread on a wooden plank
6. On cooling cut it store it in air tight containers. It will remain afresh for more than a month even if pure and fresh ghee is used.
Ready to serve Nendra Banana Halwa
Good to know:
1. Requirement of extra ripe bananas is non-negotiable. If you dont have them, dont try this dish.
2. Cook on medium flame only else the dish will turn bitter.
3. Using cardamom for fragrance causes the sweet flavour of bananas to be overshadowed – so its your call whether you want to use them or not.
How long it takes: 30 minute
Number of Halwas: 30 pieces