Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nendrabale kele (Banana) Halwa.

Nendrabale kele (Banana) Halwa....

Nendrabale kele (Banana) Halwa is a famous halwa of Southern India especially Mangalore. The most famous Banana Halwa is from Hotel Taj Mahal in Mangalore. Almost every Manglorean has tasted this.

This halwa is the most favorite delicacy during celebrations. During marriage functions this is served along with snacks as a sweet. Children enjoy this halwa very much. The halwa is soft toffee like and delicious when prepared correctly.

“Nendrabale kele” … Kele is actually banana in Konkani and Nendrabale is the variety of banana available down south. However now this banana is available almost all round the world. The banana is huge in size, about 10-12 inches in length and 2 inches in width. It is not advisable to eat this banana as it is like other bananas as it is difficult to digest. These are usually steamed and eaten during breakfast. 

There are many items prepared out of this banana. Some of them are bajias, fritters, podis and many more. Banana wafers are prepared out of the same banana when raw and is another item which is enjoyed by all in Mangalore. I will post as and when I prepare them, some of the items are already posted too. 

Ingredients : You will need 6 nendrabale bananas, 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of ghee.

Method : Peel the skin of 6 large sized Nendrabale kele (banana). The bananas should be really overripe. The skin should have turned out to dark black and the bananas should be mushy. This is the most important thing in the making of Halwa. Overripe banana gives it the dark color and the right texture. Chop them roughly into pieces and put it in a blender to make a smooth paste of the bananas. Remove and pour it into a thick bottomed kadai. Add 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of fresh homemade ghee to the banana mixture. 

The amount of sugar to be added actually depends upon how sweet the bananas are. Also sweetness desired varies from person to person. You can just check out the taste by tasting the mixture once the sugar has melted completely. If required add in about ¼ cup of sugar. I have added 3 cups for 6 bananas.

Cook the banana mixture on a medium-high flame, stirring once in a while. Water should not be added at all for this halwa. When bubbles start appearing lower heat to medium, keep stirring as and when required, but do keep a watch over the halwa lest it get burnt. The mixture starts thickening and darkening once it starts to solidify. Add more ghee if you find the halwa sticking to the bottom of the pan or getting burnt. Once the mixture starts to thicken and leave the sides of the pan, lower the heat to minimum and keep stirring continuously till done, so that the halwa comes out in an even texture. 

For testing if the halwa is done : Take a small plate pour a Tablespoon of halwa mixture on it. Leave it for a few minutes. Tilt the plate a bit, it the halwa does not move and stays fixed in place it is done. Just press the center with your finger to see if it soft yet firm. The halwa is done.

Grease a tray / plate with ghee. This is to prevent the halwa from sticking to the tray / plate. Also the halwa comes off easily once it is cooled. Now transfer the hot halwa mixture onto the tray /plate after removing off the excess ghee leaving the sides of halwa,and even it with the flat ladle. 

Take a flat bottomed steel glass, apply ghee to the bottom and even the halwa gently  with the help of the flat bottom of the glass. You will be surprised to see you will get an even surface better than the one with spatula. Leave an inch of space towards the end of the tray / plate. 

This I do so that the excess ghee gets collected there and I can pour it out easily and use elsewhere, or else the excess ghee dries out on the halwa itself and hardens a bit with the halwa and is unpleasant. When the mixture has cooled a bit, mark the halwa with square cutting impressions on it.

This is to ensure you get even cuts when the halwa cools completely. Sometimes it becomes difficult to cut the halwa into even pieces after it has cooled completely. Once the halwa has cooled cut the halwa on the marked insertions to get black glossy halwa. 

Halwa is ready. This halwa remains for quite some time. Around 3 weeks. However the fresher the better. Please ensure that you keep the cut pieces in a air tight box for the halwa to remain fresh.

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