One of the most amazing things here is the variety in bananas. For a girl from the land of one variety- that I don’t even know the name of, because they’re just “bananas” – its a little baffling, to be honest.
I don’t know how many varieties there are, I’ve been told around 40, but the shops have 3-10 types on a normal day, and there are posters around educating people on the beta carotene levels in 15 varieties, all grown here on Pohnpei.
The king of the beta carotene bananas is the karat (Kar-arch) banana. It is fat, has red skin and is bright orange on the inside. Like this:
Karat bananas have 2230 micrograms of beta carotene per 100 grams, which is around 100 times more than white flesh bananas. It has been used as infant food here for centuries, but has fallen out of fashion lately, although there is a campaign to bring it back. In a place where there are a lot of starchy foods available, and much more American imported junk food than fresh produce, vitamin-rich bananas are pretty handy. Also, they make your pee fluorescent yellow., which is almost a plus in itself.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of bananas myself. Mr eats a few every day (even at home in Oz), but I only have them when the mood really strikes me. However, as on of the only regularly available fruits on the island, I’m learning to like them a little better.
Here’s how we’ve been using our karat:
- 1 Karat banana
- 1 scoop protein powder (we are using Sun Warrior, Vanilla flavour)
- Some soy milk
- Drink. (easy)
Banana, Caramel and Coconut Ice-cream Tart
- 1 pre-made pie base
- 1 karat banana
- 1 Akadahn banana
- 2 taiwang or another type of banana
- 1 jar coconut jam
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Slice the taiwang and akadahn bananas (or any type) and cover pie base.
- Smoosh the karat banana and add to other bananas.
- In a small saucepan heat the coconut jam until it becomes a little runny, then remove from heat and pour onto bananas.
- In a small bowl, mix the cornflour into the half the coconut cream to form a slurry.
- Clean the saucepan, then heat the other half of the coconut cream in it.
- When the coconut cream is hot, add the slurry and it will thicken.
- Remove from heat, pour over caramel.
- Freeze pie, and thaw slices slightly in fridge as needed.
Karat Banana Spice Bread
- 2 karat bananas
- 2 other bananas (any variety)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
- 1 1/2 cup white flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 to 1 cup milk (depending on smooshiness of your bananas).
- Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees celsius.
- In a large bowl, smoosh bananas and add sugar, spices and oil. Mix with a hand blender until smooth.
- Add flours and baking powder, and combine to form a very thick dough.
- Slowly add milk until you reach a muffin batter consistency (sorry I can’t be clearer, it really depends on how big and ripe your bananas are. Hmm, that sounded a bit off.)
- Pour batter into a large loaf pan or normal cake pan.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes.