Banana Curry (Plantain Curry)
Banana Curry is a simple curried dish of plantains also known as raw bananas, cooking bananas or green bananas in India. This traditional South Indian Plantain Curry is equal parts healthy, delicious and simple to make. Eat it as is or mixed with plain rice & ghee. It also goes well with rotis or any kind of flatbreads like bhakri or ragi rotti. You can make this to a dry curry (sabji) or with a bit of gravy to suit your choice.
This Banana Curry also goes well in the office and school lunch boxes. It can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Known by different names such as Aratikaya in Telugu, Kache kela in Hindi & Vazhakkai in Tamil, Plantain is a kind of banana that is used in cooking. These are used for cooking purposes when they are still unripe, firm and green.
Plantains are different from the regular bananas and are distinguished by their usage. Plantains are always cooked, mostly consumed unripe while the skin is still green. But the regular bananas are always eaten ripe when the color of the peel changes to yellow. These can be eaten uncooked or cooked.
Here is a picture of the plaintains.
Plantain also known as “Cooking Bananas” or Raw bananas are a popular vegetable cooked often in the South Indian homes, especially in Andhra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These are used to make various dishes such as curries, stews, kootu, snacks and stir fry.
Semi-ripe cooking bananas are also used to make fried snacks. Though it is a fruit, it is treated as a vegetable. They are available all-round the year and are best consumed early after harvesting.
They taste best when tender, young and firm. Plantains can also be refrigerated for about 2 weeks beyond that they begin to turn softer.
About Banana /Plantain Curry
In this post I am sharing a traditional way of making a curry with plaintains, the way my Mom made it. Albeit there are numerous ways to make a banana curry, this one is our favourite. I can say it is flavorful, spicy and the plantains taste delicious.
In the past, non-hybrid bananas were grown very commonly in India and a lot of people also would grow these in their backyards. The Non-hybrid kind are harder and take longer to cook just like any other Non-GMO foods.
So traditionally these green bananas were parboiled first before adding them to curries or stew else the acidic ingredients like tomatoes and tamarind will hinder them from cooking faster. Even more they may never cook well!
The traditional way of making this dish is to parboil or steam plantains till al dente and then added to the masala. Though you can add them directly to the gravy I can’t guarantee if they cook well.
I have been there a lot of times with hard undercooked plantains. So I have given 2 options. If your green bananas are hybrid and young they don’t need to be precooked and can be added to the curry directly.
But the Non-GMO kind and the mature produce needs steaming or parboiling before adding to the curry.
3 Ways to Prepare Plantains
There are 3 ways you can prepare the plantains for this curry. You won’t over cook the plantains but just until cooked or slightly under cooked is fine. We usually peel the bananas with a knife and not a peeler. Grease your knife before you peel so it is easy to clean up the sticky residue.
- First way is to peel and chop them. Transfer them to a steam basket. Steam them in a steamer or a pot until al dente.
- Second way is to cook the whole raw banana in a pot of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and then simmer until the peel discolors. Pierce it with a fork to check, you know when it is tender. This is the easiest way to cook as you don’t need to peel them.
- Last way is to boil the peeled & diced plantain in a pot of water. Use some of the stock to make the gravy so you don’t lose the flavors.
More Plantain Recipes
Raw Banana Fry
How to Make Banana Curry (Stepwise Photos)
1. Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons oil. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter, add curry leaves (rinsed & pat dry) & a pinch of hing.
2. Add 1 cup onions and 1 green chili chopped.
3. On a medium heat, stir fry or saute until light golden. Add 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste. Meanwhile fill a small bowl or pot with 2 cups water. Peel 2 green bananas, Remove the greens completely and chop them. Add them to the water and keep aside.
4. Saute until it turns aromatic for a minute or so.
5. Add ¾ cup chopped tomatoes, ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, ½ teaspoon coriander powder (optional) and 1 teaspoon garam masala.
6. Saute well until the onion tomato masala smells good. This takes only a minute.
7. Option 1 : If using hybrid or young green bananas, add peeled and chopped green bananas pieces (from 2 green bananas) to the pan.
8. Mix well.
9. Pour half cup hot water and mix well.
10. Cover and cook until tender. Use a spoon or a fork to check it is fork tender and fully cooked but not mushy. If it is undercooked and there is no moisture, you may add some hot water and cook further.
11. We like a dry curry so I prefer to dry out the excess moisture. Taste test and add more salt or spices.
Option 2: If using Non-GMO green bananas or mature bananas that are harder, boil the cubed pieces in water in a separate pot for a few minutes until slightly tender but not mushy. Pour half cup water of this water to the onion tomato masala and cook it until thick like a gravy. Then add the boiled banana pieces to the gravy and simmer for a while until the pieces are cooked through completely.
As the curry cools down, it will dry out so it is best served hot or warm. Serve Banana Curry with rice or chapati.
Banana Curry Recipe (Plantain Curry)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 green banana (Plantains, unripe & firm)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing, optional)
- 1 green chili (serrano peppers, optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
- ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 cup onions (finely chopped or sliced, 1 large)
- ¾ cup tomatoes (deseeded, chopped & mashed or pureed)
- 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust as needed)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala adjust to suit
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder (optional, more if needed)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- Wash & peel banana. Make sure the inner skin has been removed completely. Dice them and add to a bowl of water.
- If your bananas are young and tender, you may skip this step and add them directly to the pan later. Add to a steam basket. Place in your steamer or cooker or pot and steam till al dente (just cooked). It takes around 10 to 12 mins on a medium heat. Or Alternately you can also boil them in a open pot with 1½ cups water. Do not make them mushy.
How to Make Banana Curry
- Heat a pan with oil. Add cumin and mustard seeds.
- When they begin to sizzle, add hing, curry leaves, onions and green chilies. Saute until the onions turn completely golden.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes off.
- Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Mix and saute until the tomatoes turn mushy.
- Add red chili powder, garam masala and coriander powder. Mix and saute for 2 to 3 mins.
- Pour half cup hot water (or plantain cooked water) to the pan and stir well. Cook until the mixture turns to a thick gravy like. You can add more water if you like a moist curry. I made this to a dry raw banana masala curry.
- Taste test and adjust salt. Add the steamed plantain (or young chopped banana pieces). Stir well.
- Cover and cook for 3 to 4 mins on a very low flame until fork tender but not mushy. We prefer a dry curry, so I evaporate all the water by cooking for 2 to 3 mins more. Taste test and adjust salt and spices.
- Add coriander leaves. Switch off. Serve plantain masala with rice-rasam or with roti.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
Watch Banana Curry Video
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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Hello Swasthi, your website is great! Thanks. Do you have any recipe using plantain stem (vazhai thandu)?
Thank you! No I don’t have.
Is it the bananas or the plantain?
Where is the video. I’m not able to view it. Dont know where it is, its not showing up. Please send me the link. thank you.
Yes they are plantains, they are called raw banana in India. I don’t have a video for this recipe
I’m grateful that you shared this recipe, which looks very nice…but calling them raw is confusing. They are obviously cooked. They are green/unripe plantains, not raw. Most people around the world who use plantains would not call them “raw.”
Hi, Thank you! In South India they are called as raw bananas and not plantains. I don’t know the reason behind that. I know they are plantains everywhere else, that’s the reason I also mentioned the same in the title.
I’ve made this twice now and it came out DELICIOUS both times! Really interesting flavour, rich and tangy. Your method was so clear.
Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!
Your recipes are very nice. I like it. My daughter and I make food by following your recipes. My son and husband love eating it! Thank you!!
Great taste ?, I like your recipe and most of the dishes had come out very well. Your preparation video is very easy to follow and great! I refer to your dishes regularly and once again great taste ?… thanks.
You are welcome! Glad to know you liked it. Thank you very much!
This is delicious! I wasn’t sure what to expect from raw banana, but it is savory and lovely. I just want to point out that the recipe doesn’t specify quantities for the curry leaves, turmeric or salt.
Thanks for the mention. I will update it. Happy to know it came out good
Amazing recipe….came out as delicious as in pic…. Thank you
Glad to know it turned out good
Very tasty I am satisfied with your recipes
This looks like it is really good! I am a huge fan of Indian food, I might just have to give it a try!
Hello maam…hope evrything is great…after lots of search got a gluten free rolled oats maam….in this curry i think v hav to add ginger garlic paste after the step 4..going to try this now maam…
I am doing good. Thank you. Happy that finally you got them. Yes we have to add ginger garlic paste. I forgot to mention, thanks for the mention i updated it. Yes do try.
The taste was very good maam….was very diff frm the usual way i prepare…thanks a lot fr posting easy n tasty recipies… hatsoff for ur consistent good work..
Happy to know you liked it. Thanks for the feedback and the compliments.