For the longest part of my life I had a love-hate relationship with bananas and would only tolerate them when they were still so green they were practically crunchy (or, alternatively, once churned into my dad’s legendary banana ice cream).
I have come a long way since though, in part because bananas turned out to be the perfect pre-run fuel when I was training for my first half-marathon (and, blended with ice cold milk, a scoop of peanut butter and a handful of ice cubes, also turn out to be the perfect post-long run fuel).
While I still prefer to turn spotty bananas into banana bread, these days I actually enjoy anything and everything banana-flavoured. And as testament to that, here is a round-up of my favourite banana recipes that I have shared on the blog over the years – in each of which the banana flavour takes centre-stage and yet each of which is a little unusual in terms of flavour.
Have you come across any unusual banana recipes? Let me know in the comments below!
A Malaysian restaurant in London I used to sometimes go to while studying at the London School of Economics inspired this. They served cubes of banana bread with their main courses and also had a smokey banana ice cream on the dessert menu. Both were delicious on their own but they also made me think that smokey banana bread might just be a really delicious thing and an interesting twist on traditional banana bread. And I was right. I used ground Lapsang Souchong tea to the banana bread batter to give it that slightly smokey note and what you end up with is something really intriguing and sophisticated in some way. Delicious on its own or toasted with some salted butter, but if you like that sweet and salty combo, I bet a slice of this would also be brilliant alongside a fried egg and some crispy bacon.
This is one of the first recipes I posted on this blog after I moved from Rome to Brussels (over 5 years ago by now). Swapping out some of the liquids in the traditional custard recipe for pureed banana and adding some miso you end up with this wonderfully complex sweet custard – with some complexity from the miso but also a slight savory edge, not unlike a salted caramel custard.
My last apartment was open plan so I only deep-fried things very rarely. Not only was it difficult to get rid of the smell of whatever I had decided to deep-fry but that smell would also linger in the entire flat (plus I must admit to being somewhat intimidated by saucepans full of hot oil!). A pity really, since many deep-fried things are extremely delicious. Case in point: these banana fritters. The dough is very simple and quick to prepare (if the tiniest bit delicate since it is quite soft and wet) and once the fritters hit the hot oil, they cook very fast. Rolled in some garam masala spiked sugar, they are a brilliant indulgent weekend breakfast (or afternoon snack should you be so inclined) alongside some chai.
Growing up, we only ever really had two ice cream flavours at home – the darkest of dark chocolate and banana. Not sure how my dad settled on these two flavours for his first ice cream experiments but there we are. Banana and chocolate is one of those brilliant combinations that just works (just think about banana split and how good the chocolate sauce tastes on the banana) and here I used that flavour combination by blending some bananas into chocolate mousse.
That banana miso flavour combination is clearly one I adore. Here I tried to replicate one of my favourite pastries I used to sometimes buy when I had only just started working as a junior associate in London (almost 10 years ago) – a brioche dough that is folded around a layer of a thick eggy custard scattered generously with chocolate chips. For a little bit of a twist, I flavoured the custard with banana and miso.