Banana Fritters for Grown-ups and Children

by Kaveri Ponnapa

A small, round version of a banana fritter, bale muruku is something I just love to make. For one thing, it's so easy, requiring minimum effort, and the results are utterly delicious and quite irresistible. These little treats are slightly crisp on the outside, and velvety soft on the inside, with small bursts of toasted sesame seeds, cardamom and coconut, all wrapped up in the sweetness of ripe banana. I've forgotten how many times I have made them for my children, frying batches to a deep brown, then tipping them onto crumpled newspaper to drain the oil, all the while popping 'samples' into my mouth, liberally. The sweet scent of the fritters drifted around the house, and soon, hopeful faces would appear at the kitchen door. Before long, the entire batch would vanish. Bale muruku keeps very well, stored in stainless-steel tins, or glass jars. My grandmother often had a large jar filled with them in what was officially the snack cupboard, built into the wall of the dining room. She made them in gigantic batches, using the dense-textured, uniquely flavoured mara bale of Coorg, although the common, ripe bananas work just as well. I now wonder how they lasted long enough to fill the jar, as the boys of the house stuffed their pockets with fistfuls of fritters as they went out to play.

I love to watch the effect bale murukus have on adults. Those who have never tasted them, eat one, hesitantly, and then reach for a second and third, very quickly. Trying to stay within the bounds of politeness, the dish of bale muruku is passed rapidly up and down the table, some guests surreptitiously picking up two or three at a time, hoping not to be noticed. And I could swear that one of our friends, who visits often, always has a look on his face that says he wished he could fill his pockets and take some home with him!

Bale Muruku


A Coorg version of Banana Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 6 – 8 ripe bananas, the spotted, yellow variety.
  • 3 level tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted on a dry tava
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • approx 5 level tablespoons rice powder
  • approx 2 -3 lvel tablespoons maida
  • a pinch of salt
  • ¼ to ½ cup scraped/ grated jaggery, according to the sweetness required, as the bananas will be sweet too.
  • a pinch of cardamom powder
  • oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Mash the bananas thoroughly.
  • Mix in, by hand, the sesame seeds, jaggrey, cardamom powder, salt.
  • Add about 2 -3 tablespoons of maida, one at a time, to bind the mixture.
  • Add the rice powder 1 tbsp at a time until you have a mixture that you can handle, but still is very soft.
  • Heat the oil in a khadai, and drop in the batter in large, marble sized scoops.
  • Fry until well browned.
  • Bale muruku tastes delicious both hot and cold, and goes well with a cup of south Indian filter coffee.

Thank you for visiting this page. If you read something that you enjoy, or see an image that you like, please take a moment to write a response. Do look out for the recipes of all the food featured here in my upcoming cookbook.

Image Credits: Nithin Sagi
All Food Styling: Kaveri Ponnapa

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