Raw Banana Curry is a simple curried dish of raw bananas also known as plantains. This traditional South Indian plantain masala 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 raw 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.
These 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 plaintain.
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. This is a vegetable that’s 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 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 raw banana curry this one is our favourite. I can say it is flavorful, spicy and the raw bananas taste delicious.
In the past, non-hybrid raw 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 raw 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!
I have shared the same traditional way of making this dish where the plantains are parboiled or steamed until 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.
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.
Raw Banana Curry (Plantain Masala)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 raw 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)
- ½ to 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 (more if needed)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- Wash & peel banana. Make sure the inner skin has been removed completely.
- Cube them and 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 Plantain Masala
- 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 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. Stir well.
- Cover and cook for 3 to 4 mins on a very low flame. The plantain must cook completely but not mushy. We prefer a dry curry, so I evaporate all the water by cooking for 2 to 3 mins more.
- 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.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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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.
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