Healthy living and maintaining a strict diet to ensure overall well-being is the mantra of the hour. While going meat-free and dairy-free is relatively common, people are also choosing to cut out wheat/wheat flour/wheat-based products from their diets and switch to healthier options.
Even as expensive alternatives like almond flour are being discussed, a report in The Hindu suggests that we have entirely missed the green nendram podi (powder)—also known as banana flour—which is a grain-free and healthy flour alternative that has existed in South India for centuries.
The latest entrant in the gluten-free food club, green nendram podi, is an indigenous superfood and is slowly becoming popular.
Speaking to The Hindu, Dr Sarah Paul, a CMC Vellore trained paediatrician and a former professor at PSG Medical College, Coimbatore, said, “who has been practising for 35 years, said that the green banana flour is excellent in porridge form, for babies above six months.
“It’s grown locally, is natural with no additives, high in starch and fibre, is very good for the gut and, most importantly, is hypoallergenic,” she said.
“Raw banana powder is a good source of carbohydrates and potassium. The Kerala green bananas also have carotenoids, a precursor of Vitamin A. Banana powder porridge with milk and ghee is nutritious,” said Dr Antony Terance, a paediatrician at the GKNM Hospital, Coimbatore. He advocates banana powder porridge, with milk and ghee.
Rujuta Diwekar, the well-known nutritionist, also endorsed banana flour and its prebiotic characteristics.
So how do you get your hands on this superfood?
You can also purchase it online for anywhere between ₹200-500 per kilogram, depending on the brand and manufacturing process. Do ensure that you choose the ‘Made in India’ variety.
But if you want to make it at home, you will need around 8-9 kilos of green bananas, to make one kilo of flour. Also ensure that there is lots of direct sunlight.
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Slice green bananas as thinly as possible, soak them in water to prevent discolouration and then dry them under the sun till they are completely dry. Then slowly process in a blender, till you get a fine powder, which will be pale yellow in colour and have a mild aroma of bananas. Done!
Cooking quickly, the flour adds lightness to pancakes and goes well with sweet and savoury ingredients. It is a great substitute for wheat flour and a boon for people who cannot digest wheat products and those who want to add nutritious food to their diet.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)