Carol is on her summer break and I am house and dog sitting for my sister, so we thought you wouldn’t mind having a reminder of some of the dishes that we put together this time last year. I supplied the ingredients and their nutritional benefits and Carol prepared delicious meals from scratch.
The Banana – Nutrient Boost, no packaging required
The banana is not only a superfood packed with nutrients but it is also a definite winner in the therapeutic arena. The fruit has been around for at least a couple of thousand years and many cultures have used the banana in their fight against illness.
I have often been told that people do not eat bananas because they are fattening but will admit to eating a doughnut or a bar of chocolate everyday. A bar of chocolate which is 100gm is around 500 calories and 55% fat. A 100gm of banana (large) has 120/150 calories and is virtually fat free. I will leave you to do the maths.. and to read just want that 120 calories piece of fruit can do for you.
The banana has many talents including keeping your bowels healthy, reducing your risk of heart disease and strokes, protecting you from ulcers, improving blood pressure, boosting your energy and your mood and help you reduce water retention.
More specifically the banana is a medicine cabinet in its own right. If we look at the diverse diseases and conditions that it is connected to you will realise how important it is in your diet.
Anaemia is the result of a lack of haemoglobin the oxygen-carrying agent in red blood cells. Iron is essential in the manufacture of this haemoglobin in the bone marrow and bananas are high in this mineral.
High blood pressure and stress related conditions effect many people and not just as they age. More and more children and young adults are showing signs of following a poor diet, high in junk food and low in natural fresh produce. Junk food is high in salt, which in the form of sodium and in excess causes elevated blood pressure.
The potassium in bananas helps lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, enhancing he excretion of water and sodium from the body and suppressing the hormones that cause elevations in blood pressure.
Potassium helps normalise the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates water balance. When we are stressed our metabolic rate increases, reducing our potassium levels and by eating a banana we can help re-balance all these symptoms in one snack.
Depression and nervous conditions can be helped by eating bananas as they contain tryptophan, a protein that converts into serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that makes you relax and improves your mood. The B vitamins in the fruit are also essential for a healthy central nervous system.
Heartburn is eased by eating a banana due to its antacid effect, and it has the added benefit of not causing stomach problems when used long term.
Ulcers in the stomach are very delicate and the banana is one of the few foods that can be eaten raw without causing any further distress or inflammation to the ulcer site. It also reduces over acidity and the irritation this causes to the lining of the stomach.
PMS is dreadful, not just for the woman concerned, but usually for the family around her. Eating a banana with its B6 not only helps alleviate the stress symptoms but also works to regulate the hormones causing the problem.
Weight loss – Contrary to popular belief that the banana is fattening, it actually provides one of the most complete meals in history for only 120/150 calories for a large banana.. As weight can be related to stressful environments, a banana is also very good as a work place snack to help you get through the day; without resorting to more unhealthy comfort foods.
Morning sickness and hangovers whilst hopefully not connected, tend to afflict us in the morning when blood sugar levels are likely to be low. Eating a banana is said to help stabilise this, and if you blend your banana with some milk and honey, you will also soothe and hydrate your body whilst calming the stomach.
Smoking – Cigarettes are tough to give up. I know having gone through the withdrawal symptoms myself 25 years ago. If you can manage without a nicotine patch, you might think about including a banana in your diet every day or when you have a craving. Not only will all the nutrients give you an energy boost but also the potassium and magnesium in the banana will help with your withdrawal symptoms including stress.
Warts and mosquito bites can be unsightly and the bites very itchy and whilst there are some products available in the pharmacies there are some old fashioned remedies that are worth mentioning. It is said that if you wrap the inside of the banana skin around a wart that it will disappear and it is reported that rubbing the inside of the skin over mosquito bites will take down the swelling and irritation. I cannot personally attest to that one but it won’t hurt to try.
As you can see the banana is a very useful ally in efforts to prevent illness and to help our bodies fight conditions when they occur. It is not the complete answer, as it needs to be included in a diet that contains all the essential elements. It is also not intended to take the place of necessary medication for serious illnesses. It is part of the wonderful pharmacy that we have available at our fingertips and should be enjoyed in as many ways as possible.
Now I am going to hand you over to Carol Taylor who is sharing some delicious ways to include bananas in your diet.
The Banana also known as the fruit of wise men.
I am sure most of you can get Bananas in your supermarket; these bananas will probably be the Cavendish by name as the original Banana favoured by the supermarkets was the Gros Michel which became extinct by 1960 as it was wiped out by a fungus called the Panama Disease.
This could happen at any time as Bananas are actually clones and if they become infected with a fungus it just runs rampant and kills them all.
The Banana a most versatile of fruits with so many uses…..Here in Thailand and in my garden Bananas grow in abundance.
So much so that I always freeze some ready to make smoothies.
The Bananas scientific name is “Musa Sapientum“ which roughly translated means “Fruit of wise men”
Here it is called Kluay pronounce “ glue eye” spellings vary slightly around the regions and it is a tree-like perennial and officially classed as a herb, the world’s largest herb as it can reach 25 feet in height. The fruit is also classed as a berry.
Here in Thailand leaves are used to serve food on or wrap food in like these little parcels of tri coloured sticky rice topped with shredded pork.
The purple flowers are steamed and eaten with a spicy Thai dip.
To make Thai spicy dip:
Finely chop one small shallot, 1 clove of garlic, finely slice 6/8 fresh chillies, add 3 tbsp fish sauce and 2 tbsp fresh lime juice…I stir in a little-chopped coriander. If the dip is too salty add a little warm boiled water.
Mashed and mixed with a tbsp of heavy cream and a tbsp of honey and then applied to dry hair covered with a shower cap and a hot towel. Left for an hour and then rinsed off before shampooing the hair it is a wonderful moisturising treatment.
There is no end to the properties of this low calorie, no fat, no sodium, no cholesterol berry which is also rich in Vitamin C, Potassium, fibre and B6.
Here it is used to make bread and muffins.
- 2/3 ripe bananas.
- 1/3 Cup melted butter.
- 1 cup sugar (I only used slightly less than 1/2 cup) don’t like it too sweet.
- 1 egg beaten.
- 1 tsp vanilla essence.
- 1 tsp Baking Powder.
- 1 1/2 Cups Flour.
- Handful walnuts chopped (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350/175 degrees.
Use a 4 x 8 inch loaf tin.
- Mash Banana, Stir in butter. Mix in Baking Soda and salt. Stir in sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix in flour.
- Bake for 1hr- 1hr 10 mins.
- Cool completely before removing from tin.
Once cold it can be eaten sliced on its own or with butter…I serve mine with a passion fruit butter sometimes it is nice to experiment with different flavoured butters.
If cooked the banana skins are edible, you will see fried bananas in abundance on the street food stalls…they are fried in batter, grilled on the BBQ in their skins and turned into golden fritters ( Kluay phao)
Banana spring rolls with a sweet dip or eaten green and raw with a spicy dip. (See recipe above)
They can be used to make a beautiful Banana Blossom stir fry.
Just wash the blossoms and put in a bowl of cold water with some lemon.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil/olive oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp yellow split peas/chana dhal
- 1 tbsp split green lentils/urad dhal
- 1-2 dry red Chilli halved
- 2 tsp tamarind juice
- 5-8 Curry Leaves
- 1 Banana flower blossoms
- 1 large red onion, diced
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ¼ cup grated unsweetened coconut, fresh/frozen
- Salt to taste
Bring some water to the boil in a cooking pan and add the banana flower to a boiling water pot and cook for 10 minutes, until they are soft and done. Drain the water through a colander and squeeze with the hand to remove any excess water. Set them aside.
Heat oil in a cooking pan and once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, Let them pop, add lentils and halved red chillies. Now add tamarind juice and curry leaves and mix well, Mix in finely chopped onion and saute on a medium flame till they are light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add turmeric and mix well.
Add the cooked banana flower to the pan. Stir fry for 2 minutes at on a medium flame until they are mixed well with the spices.Add salt to taste and sprinkle grated coconut on top and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Serve hot with steam rice.
Green unripe bananas are also used to make Tam Maak Kluay which is a version of the famous Som Tam (Papaya Salad) which I first had from a roadside stall near Bang Tao beach in Phuket and it is beautiful.
Just a piece of trivia…did you know? That more songs have been written about the Banana than any other fruit.
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
Connect to Carol
My thanks to Carol for these wonderful recipes and I hope you will join us again Please feel free to share thanks Sally
The other posts in the Food and Cookery Column can be found in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-2018/