You know when you are looking for things to do with those overripe bananas languishing in your fruit bowl and the Internet throws approximately 9,864,233 results of banana bread at you? And you feel overwhelmed just looking at the choices? I have a solution: Make Mangalore Buns for a change.
(Banana bread is great – I have made several myself – but Woman cannot live on banana bread alone.)
Mangalore Buns are named after the south western port city in India, where they originate. It also happens to be my home town. I may be biased but Mangalore is truly a wonderful place with friendly people and amazing food. Oh, the food! If you’re in the habit of reading cookbooks like I do, you are highly likely to have come across some reference to Mangalore and its food. And that’s not a coincidence. It’s because the food here is fresh, delicious and different. One of my favourite cookbook authors, Anjum Anand in her most recent book ‘I Love Curry’ mentions how much she loves Mangalore food and how it deserves more recognition.
If you’re the sort to keep an eye on the current trends in food, then you’ll be happy to know that Mangalore ticks a lot of boxes. Coconuts, cashewnuts, moringa, jackfruit, pepper, turmeric, coffee, bananas, mangoes are the chief crops that grow here. Every time I go back to Mangalore, it’s the sight, smell and taste of these and many other local produce that make me the happiest. That and the numerous beaches that offer spectacular sunsets. It’s wonderful when going home feels like going on a holiday in a tropical paradise.
But I digress. Back to the buns. You blitz the bananas to a puree with salt, sugar and yoghurt. Then you add plain flour and soda bi carb* and, here’s the important bit – you let the dough ferment overnight at room temperature. That is the secret to making great Mangalore Buns. The next day, you roll out little balls of dough and deep-fry them. Eat them for breakfast or as a snack.
[Soda bicarb is traditionally used as a raising agent, but as you will see in the recipe below, I just find it convenient to use self-raising flour with excellent results]
Mangalore Banana Buns
- food processor or blender
- 2 medium overripe bananas about 160g peeled weight
- 1/2 a cup thick greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp sugar This amount makes the sweetness barely discernible - add another tbsp if you want them slightly sweeter.
- 1½ tsp salt
- 400 g self-raising plain (or whole wheat) flour about 2½ cups
- oil for deep-frying
- In the food processor bowl with the metal blade inserted (or in the blender) , blitz the bananas, yoghurt, sugar and salt to a smooth puree.
- If using the food processor, change to the plastic kneading blade and add most (about 2 cups) of the flour and pulse gently until combined into a dough. It should form a firm, slightly sticky dough. Add the remaining flour if needed and pulse again to obtain a dough as described. Whole wheat flour will absorb more liquid and yoghurt consistencies vary, so the amount of flour suggested is only a guide.
- At this point, you can transfer the dough to a bowl, cover and leave it at room temperature overnight. I like to leave it in the food processor bowl with the feeding tube covered. This way, I can easily & conveniently adjust the consistency of the dough the next morning if I need to.
- Next morning, the dough will feel slightly looser than when you left it. It will be sticky but if you feel it's too tricky to roll out, add flour a tbsp or two at a time.
- Heat oil for deep frying. Meanwhile, make around 1" balls (about 30 - 40g each) of the dough. You might need to grease your hands with a bit of oil to handle the dough and to roll it out. Do not use flour to roll out. Dip each ball in a tiny bit oil and you should be able to roll each one out to a small disc of about 3 - 4 inches in diameter.
- Deep-fry at medium heat until golden and puffed up. Serve hot with a coconut chutney or anything else you fancy.