Banana Skin and Peanut Curry

During the initial lockdown in 2020 I played around with a lot of wasted food items, from carrot tops to leek tops, onion skins and swiss chard stalks. I wanted to test as many options as possible, establish limits and how long it takes to breakdown when cooked to an acceptable product. Not everything was successful, I failed many times making vegetarian burgers using scraps as in my mind it made sense making it into a patty where it would be easy to hide an unwanted item.  One of the more successful experiments was using banana skin, I made banana skin bacon, savoury banana skin mince, savoury fried balls and even smoked pulled banana skin. It must be said that this is not going to impress everyone as banana has a very strong flavour and so doe its skin.

Banana skin curry is not a new recipe and many versions are available. I found that if the curry was left for a day to infuse it developed nicely soaking up all the flavours and spices. We collect the skins at home in the freezer for later use.

Spicy with a hint of sour sweetness, change it up by using chickpeas instead of the peanuts
I have added a spoonful of peanut butter before and that makes it even more nutty.

banana skin

Banana Skin & Peanut Curry

Prep Time: 30min

Cooking Time: 60min
Serving: 4
4 banana skins cut into small pieces about 1cm x 1cm
½ – 1 cup peanut
¼ cup red lentils
20 ml coconut oil
1-2 Tomatoes grated
2 tsp Curry powder
¼ tsp Cumin seeds
¼ tsp Coriander seeds
¼ tsp Mustard seeds
¼ tsp Fenugreek (optional)
2 ea cardamom pods (optional)
4 ea green chili sliced
3 small red chilies
1-2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp chopped or grated ginger
10 – 12 curry leaves
1 tbsp chopped mint and coriander
juice from one lemon or 25ml tamarind
1 tsp grated palm sugar or brown sugar
130ml coconut milk
water as needed

1. Toast all the dry seeds and spices
2. Add coconut oil
3. Add onion and sauté until soft
4. Add peanuts and lentils
5. Continue to sauté for 2 minutes
6. Add curry powder cook for about a minute
7. Add grated tomato
8. Add coconut milk and cook until lentils are tender
9. Add water as need
10. Add banana skins a cook for 30 – 40 minutes, if it cooks dry add some more water
11. Add curry leaves and mint adjust seasoning
12. Serve with steamed rice/roti and favourite sambal

I prefer cooking a lot of the moisture away making the curry slightly dryer


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Finding Burger Part 18, Mushrooms!

Mushroom Burger

Mushroom Burger

I never thought I would admit it, but lately we have been selling more mushroom burgers than beef burgers, I would like to take credit but it most likely it has a lot more to do with people wanting healthier options and many are looking at plant based diets and it is here to stay. We thought we would make 15 every two weeks, now we are making 15 every 4 days. Admittedly it is slightly cheaper on the menu, but only marginally.
Before lockdown we had started developing a vegetarian burger that was doing well but needed some further development, in the end we then outsourced the burger due to some consistency issues. During lockdown I spent weeks making batch after batch of vegetarian burgers until we settled on a mushroom and black bean burger that worked and was the right texture that was not dry, that was not made up of only beans and had the right amount of softness and moisture.
The challenge is always making sure everything binds well without adding loads of flour or bread. We managed to make the mushroom burger gluten free which ended up a being a bonus.
The biggest issue was that we did not want a vegetarian burger that reminded us of meat, but rather celebrate the vegetable.
We use a sunflower dressing and hummus in the final assembly and use cider glazed onion and a sweet and sour basting sauce. What we did find is that many guests still ask for a mature cheddar instead of the vegan cheese.

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Mango & coconut torte, vegan meringue, coconut and vanilla sorbet and mango salad

Vegan Dessert

Date crust filled with a creamy coconut filling topped with a mango glaze, served with a refreshing coconut and vanilla sorbet and a vegan meringue made from aquafaba to give an element of crunch (still one of our best discoveries of 2017) and a mango mint salad to complement the nutty and sweet flavours from the torte and meringue.

Chef Kirsten in pastry has been tasked to create a whole lot of dairy/egg free dessert/tea items for the tea selection as well as a la carte dessert options. Making these vegan items friendly to the palate has proven popular to even the normal guests, this dessert is currently featured on the Planet menu, but it does look like it will have to find a permanent home.
So ditch the dairy and eggs but not the flavour with this mango and coconut torte. Great for a hot summers day.

With the chickpea aquafaba, Kirsten has also managed to make the most beautiful macarons which is now featured on our vegan tea selection.

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