Yes, We Have No Bananas

Kerala boasts a huge variety of bananas for sale. Some are cooked and steamed, others eaten raw, and still others are used just as offerings at temple.

When you go the market you specify not only the type of banana you want, but also how ripe: whether it's a "today" banana, or a "tomorrow" banana.

banana man

A common breakfast food is puttu and steamed plantains. Puttu is pounded rice flakes mixed with water, layered between grated coconut and steamed in a metal tube for 15 minutes or so.

Once it's emptied on your plate, you mash up some steamed plantain, mix it with the puttu and enjoy. Quite filling and tasty, too.

Another breakfast dish is uppumavu: basically a very dry cream of wheat cooked with some mild spices.

You eat that with mashed bananas and a drop or two of ghee (clarified butter). The bananas eaten with uppumavu are called pallayam todan -- a different, smaller and sweeter kind than green plantains.


Because bananas are such an important staple, a specialized knife has been invented to cut them off the stems. It's pretty clever and works well, but I wouldn't want TSA finding one in my suitcase!

Jack the Ripper used one of these


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