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There are a lot of misconceptions about the banana even though it is one of the healthiest fruits. “It’s considered an anomaly in fruits—one that leads to weight gain. The truth is far from it actually. First, it is nil in fat, and second, it’s loaded with healthy carbohydrate and micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and D," says Ritika Samaddar, regional head, dietetics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi.

Banana is an energizing fruit as it contains three natural sugars—sucrose, fructose and glucose—and is high in fibre too. That’s why it is a favourite with athletes. “One medium banana delivers just 100 calories and is loaded with a particular kind of fibre called resistant starch (RS), which not just fills you up, but also keeps those damaging cravings away, boosts your metabolism, and keeps constipation at bay too," adds Samaddar.

Bananas are loaded with potassium, a mineral that helps keep the blood pressure down and the bones strong and healthy. “Bananas are a happy fruit as they have tryptophan, which gets converted into serotonin in the body, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier," adds Pratima Mishra, clinical nutritionist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ahmedabad.

Even if you have diabetes or your blood sugar is a little high, you can consume bananas in moderation. “This is because the sugar in banana is natural and gets released slowly due to the presence of fibre and pectin in it. And to lessen the sugar spike further, pair it with protein and healthy fats such as nuts or seed butter or yogurt," says Mishra.

Banana cake.
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Banana cake.

Banana, orange and chia seeds smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 banana (peeled)

Juice of 3 oranges

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp chia seeds

Ice, as required

Method

Blend orange juice, banana, honey with ice to form a smooth puree.

Sprinkle chia seeds on top and serve.

Almond and raw banana galawat

Serves 2

1/2 cup almond slivers

2 raw bananas, boiled

2 tbsp almond paste

2 tbsp ghee

1/2 tsp mace powder

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1/2 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp red chili powder

Salt to taste

1/2cup tempura batter

Method

Grate the banana. Heat ghee and add ginger-garlic paste. Sauté till light brown. Add the garam masala and red chilli powders and sauté. Add the banana and cook till the mixture leaves the sides of the wok. Add almond paste, cook for a minute. Adjust the seasoning and finish with mace and cardamom powders. Cool the mixture and divide into small balls. Shape each ball into a patty, coat with tempura batter and crumb with almond slivers. Grill on a non-stick pan till golden in colour.

Banana and jaggery sticky cake

Serves 3-4

For the toffee sauce

1 cup sugar

1/2cup white butter

1/2cup cream

For the banana cake

2 bananas

10 tbsp butter

10 tbsp jaggery

1/3cup cream

2 eggs

5 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 cup toffee sauce

Method

Whisk cream, butter and jaggery in a bowl. Add eggs one by one and mix well. Mash the bananas and add to the mixture with vanilla essence. Mix flour and baking powder and fold it into the egg mixture.

Heat sugar in a pan until it caramelizes. Remove from heat and slowly pour the cream and mix well. Then gently fold in the butter.

Grease a rectangular baking tray and pour toffee sauce into it. Pour the cake mixture over this and bake in a double boiler at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. Demould the cake and let it cool.

(Recipes by chef Manish Mehrotra, Indian Accent.)

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