Skip Banana Bread, Make These 6 Indian Banana Desserts Instead

Though it's on most of our shopping lists, we often overlook the potential of the humble banana. Beyond just being an easy grab-and-go snack or a reason to make banana bread when you inevitably forget to eat them in time, they’re a key part of India’s culinary past. Bananas have thrived in the Asian subcontinent for thousands of years but took till the 13th century to make their way to Europe where they were considered exotic and unusual. In fact in the United States, the 100th anniversary celebration of the Declaration of Independence featured the banana as an exotic centerpiece.

In India, bananas hold cultural significance. The god Vishnu once declared, "As the bark and leaves of the kadali tree are to be seen in its stem, so thou art the stem of the universe and all things visible to thee." Even today, followers of Shiva and Vishnu consider banana plants to be auspicious. At Indian weddings, it's common to find a banana stalk near the stage, symbolising fertility. 

Today, bananas are cultivated on almost every continent and according to 2011 data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, India is the largest banana producer in Asia. In India, bananas are available all year round, and the country consumes most of the substantial 30 tons produced annually. Bananas are the nation's 7th largest crop, trailing only essential staples like rice, buffalo milk, wheat, and, somewhat surprisingly, sugar cane and mangos.

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If you need some fresh ideas about how to use bananas, here are 6 delicious desserts you can try. 

Keylachi Shikran:

A delightful Maharashtrian dish made from ripe bananas, this dish involves mashing ripe bananas and mixing them with milk, jaggery, cardamom, and grated coconut. Kelyache Shikran is a sweet and wholesome treat enjoyed by many in the state of Maharashtra and beyond. It showcases the versatility of bananas in Indian cuisine, as they can be used to create both sweet and savoury dishes.

Kele Ke Halwa:

Banana Halwa is a delightful Indian dessert that's simple to make. Ripe bananas are mashed and then sautéed with ghee and sugar until the mixture thickens and takes on a rich, golden hue. Cardamom and nuts are often added for a fragrant and nutty flavour. This sweet and creamy dish is loved for its comforting taste and is often prepared during festivals or special occasions.

Banana Appe:

Also known as Paniyaram or Paddu, is a popular South Indian snack which is usually savoury but can be made sweet with the addition of bananas. It is made by mixing ripe bananas with dosa batter, which is a fermented rice and urad dal mixture. The batter is spooned into special round moulds and cooked until the appe turn crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These small bite-sized treats offer up a delicious snack or dessert.

Banana Gulgula:

Hailing from Uttar Pradesh Gulgule are a beloved street food snack and are the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Overripe bananas are mashed and mixed with a batter made from flour, sugar, and spices. The mixture is then deep-fried until it becomes golden and crispy. These sweet and aromatic fritters make for a delectable tea-time snack.

Nenthra Pazha Payasam:

There are many delicious payasams from Kerala cuisine to explore and Nenthra Pazha Payasam is one of the most loved. It's a creamy, sweet pudding made from ripe bananas, jaggery, coconut milk, and a touch of cardamom. The ripe bananas are mashed and blended with jaggery to create a delightful sweetness, and the coconut milk adds a rich and creamy texture. This payasam is a perfect ending to a traditional South Indian meal.

Pazham Pori:

Bananas are made for delicious fried snacks too and Pazham Pori, or Banana Fritters, is a beloved choice in Kerala. Ripe bananas are coated in a spiced batter, typically made with rice flour and a pinch of turmeric. They are then deep-fried until they achieve a lovely golden brown colour. These fritters are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, making them a delightful treat often served with a hot cup of tea.