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Recipe: Kumari’s Banana Curry

While I was in India, I spent a day in the kitchen of a lady called Kumari. She offers an exclusive cooking demonstration that teaches you how to cook 13 of her most famous dishes, before you sit down on her stoep, a banana leaf plate in front of you and her big-eyed cow looking lazily over at you, to feast.

I say it’s an “exclusive” demonstration, because Kumari doesn’t advertise. She’s been featured in magazines and on websites the world over, but this savvy business lady knows that the less the taxman knows, the better. So if you ever find yourself in Varkala, Kerala in India and you want to experience this power-woman and her phenomenal cooking, contact Soul & Surf and they’ll be able to book for you.

Kumari’s Banana Curry

If you’re not really into mixing sweet with savoury, you probably won’t like this recipe. It’s not overly sweet, though, and works great as a side dish to something more savoury like fish. But if you like a bit of sweet with your salt, this quick, easy and inexpensive recipe will become your new favourite.

Notes from the cooking demonstration

Kumari’s Banana Curry

Ingredients – 4-6 people

1kg of bananas (not too ripe)

2 tbl spoons coconut oil

1 tin coconut milk

1 red onion
1 teaspoon fresh garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (or more, I normally add more)
1 teaspoon chili (if you like spicy food, otherwise leave it out)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 cardamom pods
1-2 teaspoons turmeric powder
6 fresh/dried curry leaves


Roughly chop the bananas into 2cm slices. Finely chop the onion. Fry the cumin seeds and curry leaves in the coconut oil for a few seconds, until they start to pop. Add the onion, garlic & ginger and fry until soft. If they start to go a little too brown, add a bit of water. Add the bananas and gently coat in the mixture.  Don’t stir too much or it will turn mushy. Add the turmeric powder and coconut milk and gently stir. Add the fennel seeds and crushed cardamom pods and stir. Serve with basmati rice or rotis and a little plain yogurt on the side.

More India posts: 

My India Itinerary
India, Day 1
What India Taught Me
Beautiful People of India