How to turn banana skins into a brilliant chutney or curry – recipe

March 5, 2024

When I first came across the recipe for today’s Bengali green banana peel chutney, or kanchkolar khosa bata, I knew I had to try it. For some people, it can be a bit hard to believe that you can cook with banana peel – it feels like magic, as if you’re creating food out of nothing – but it’s a pretty common ingredient wherever bananas are grown around the world; with , too.

Green banana peel chutney (or curry)

This Bengali chutney and/or curry was a lucky find. It’s a green-brown mush that looks pretty horrible, but it tastes incredible: spicy, savoury and satiating. I enjoyed it with wholemeal rice and a chapati for lunch, and was bowled over by the flavours.

Green banana skins have a delicious and complex flavour that makes them perfect for curries and savoury dishes; yellow or brown banana skins are sweeter, but they would work, too. Wherever possible, use only organic bananas, not least to avoid unnecessary exposure to the excessive use of fungicides and pesticides. After all, a third of the banana is its skin, so there’s a clear financial incentive to consume it in its entirety.

Serves 2 as main with rice, or 4-6 alongside other curries

250g organic green (or yellow) banana peel (from 3-4 bananas), or plantain peel
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sea salt
, plus extra to season
1 small red onion (about 100g), peeled
50g coriander stems, save some of the leaves for garnish and the rest for another use
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 green chillies, plus a little sliced green chilli to serve
3 tbsp mustard oil
, or sunflower oil
1 bay leaf
1 dried red chilli (optional)
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 tbsp freshly grated coconut
, or 2 tbsp desiccated coconut, plus extra to serve

To serve
Wholegrain rice and chapatis

Rinse the banana skins, then soak them in cold water for an hour. Drain and put in a saucepan (or pressure cooker) with the turmeric and a teaspoon of salt, and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until tender (if using a pressure cooker, bring to a boil following the manufacturer’s instructions, then, when the pressure valve whistles, turn off and leave to cool for 30 minutes).

Drain the cooked banana peel, put it in a blender with the red onion, coriander stems, garlic and green chillies, and blitz to a puree.

Put the mustard oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, then add the bay leaf and dried red chilli, if using. Stir in the nigella seeds, grated ginger and grated coconut, and stir-fry for a minute until hot but not smoking. Add the banana peel puree and cook, stirring, until the moisture evaporates and. you’re left with a thick paste.

Garnish with a few coriander leaves, chopped green chilli and more grated fresh coconut, then serve with rice and chapatis.

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