These spicy banana chips will make you go bananas for bananas

Cravings are a natural part of life, primarily influenced by the feel-good sensation you have after you’ve consumed the coveted item to your heart’s content (or your stomach’s).

But let me ask you a question: has your craving ever turned into an obsession – like Gollum’s my-precious-one-ring obsession? Just say it out loud; you know you want to!

My fixation doesn’t end with having this dish over and over again. I have to recreate it within the confines of my own kitchen with the ingredients that I happen to own so that I can have it whenever and wherever – no strings attached.

Spicy Banana Chips are the latest addition to the list. Ever since I first tried this snack in 2007, I’ve been head-over-heels in love with them.

Originally from India (Kerala, to be precise), these delightfully crispy chips are a perfect mid-afternoon snack to help during those hunger pangs.

The traditional Indian spicy chips are fried in coconut oil, topped with salt, pepper, and powdered curry leaves. I did find a tastier version more suited to my Karachiite palate at a bakery but the bakery doesn’t have them anymore; ergo, the obsession.

I decided to give the recipe a try at home and luckily, got it right the very first time. Having said that, it wasn’t until the third try that I finally got a version tastier than any banana-chip variation I had ever tried before. So before you drool all over your favourite T-shirt, let me dive straight into the recipe.

Home-made, spicy banana chips. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD YOUSUF BAWANY

Prep Time: 35-50 minutes (depending on how many batches you have to fry them in)

Servings: 5-6 (yields approx. 200 grams)

Serving Size: 30-40 grams

Ingredients

1 kg raw bananas or plantains (characterized by their tough exterior)

– ½ teaspoon chat masala (can be found at any Pakistani grocery store)

– ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

– ½ teaspoon red chili powder

– ⅛ teaspoon black pepper powder

– ⅛ teaspoon citric acid powder (or granules)

– ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder for seasoning

– ½ teaspoon turmeric powder for soaking the bananas

– 2 cups water

– Oil for deep frying

5 coolers to beat the heat

Method

1. Take a bowl and prepare the seasoning; mix the chat masala, salt, red chili powder, black pepper powder, turmeric powder and citric acid powder – in case you have citric acid granules, you may need a mortar and pestle to powder it

2. Prepare a water and turmeric solution and soak the peeled bananas in it for 5 minutes; peeling raw bananas can be a bit tricky so here’s a video that shows you how to do it.

3. In a deep pan, add canola oil for deep frying and heat it on a medium flame

4. Once the oil is hot, make 2-3 mm thick slices of the banana using a slicer directly over the pan; please be very careful while doing this

5. Let the chips sit for 45 seconds before tossing and turning them around; keep moving them till they are nice and golden to get an even color on both sides

6. When these turn golden brown (it takes around 9-12 minutes), take them out in a bowl and liberally sprinkle the seasoning; toss them around for an even coat and spread them on a paper towel

7. Serve after they have cooled down somewhat

8. Keep in a zip-lock bag for up to 5 days (good luck if they last that long) to preserve freshness

Now don’t just sit there and watch — Go get some raw bananas and get slicing!

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