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Culinary Heritage: Sautéed green banana peels and dried fish

As I entered her kitchen, a pleasant mix of aromas invites me to stop and try to distinguish what is on the menu of the day. All around her, displayed in well aligned small bowls, I recognized finely chopped spices, boiled dried fish already crumbled and a hand of very green bananas. “Today, you will make taste something special and easy to prepare”: said this beautiful lady with sky-colored eyes. “You see, when it comes to the banana, everything is used. It’ s definitely a plant that deserves to be appreciated”.

I watched her and did not propose to help. I was intrigued to discover how she would proceed with the green bananas. She washed them one by one, then with a knife removed the thin fibrous membrane that protects the epicarp (in common language, it’s the peel). She washed them again, then peeled them, separating the peels from the pulp. She then soaked the peels in water and a little vinegar, then quickly cut half-rings which she threw in hot salted water. She then immediately sautéed the drained peels in hot boiling oil, then removed them from the pan.

The fish was seasoned with spices that were prepared in advance, then fried. An appetizing scent invaded the nicely decorated little kitchen. The green bananas peels which had then taken on a terracotta tint, were added to it. She stirred it up and then tasted this yesteryear dish. “It’s part of our culinary heritage,” she told me. In Mauritius, this heritage should be passed on to the new generation. “From the pulp, I will make saffron fries to eat as appetizers,” she added.

Did you know that in the world, more than 400 million people in 120 developing countries depend on bananas? It serves both as staple food and as an important product for local trade or for export.

It came to my mind that it is indeed a very important moment shared as a family when we have to cut down a banana tree in our backyard, because then we know that there will be a nice sharing with the neighbors in the area. Soon it was lunchtime. This stir-fried green banana peels and dried fish, served with a good white rice and red lentils is a real treat! How I would love to eat some more …

Nadine’s cuisine always has nice and tasty surprises in store for me. It is up to her to open it to the public to their great delight … An eco-responsible “table d’hôte” where a blue-eyed lady invites you into her kitchen with much joy … One more discovery, off the beaten track and a beautiful journey into the culinary heritage that deserves our full attention.

Lza M Natur

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