April 9, 2013

Kerala Banana Chips Recipe - Ethakka Upperi Recipe for Onam, Vishu

Banana Chips or Ethakka Upperi is arguably the most popular snack in Kerala that also finds its place in all Kerala Sadya. You need to use unripe plaintains (ethakka, the raw form of ethappazham used to make Pazham Pori, which is not the same as vazhakka) to make these banana chips and frying them in anything other than coconut oil is as good as not bothering to make them, really. When I was growing up, Amma always made banana chips at home and didn't even consider it an additional task because they aren't really hard to make at all. Some planning and readiness to get hands sticky and dirty is required though.

Kerala Banana Chips - Ethakka Chips for Kerala Sadya

While In Kottayam we call banana chips upperi, in northern Kerala, upperi refers to thoran (check out Cabbage Thoran Recipe here), a Kerala dish made with vegetables and a ground coconut mixture. Call it what you want, these crunchy, delicious snacks are addictive and moreish. Oh, and you can also make banana chips in the microwave.

Kerala Banan Chips - Ethakka Chips for Kerala Sadya

The banana chips or upperi served at Kerala sadya is usually not cut into circles but further quartered into smaller pieces and they tend to be thicker. The thickness of the chips really depends on the slicer you have. Amma has had a very basic mandoline slicer for years which slices quite thin and it's been used to make many many batches of delicious banana chips over the years. You can find step by step pictures for Ethakka Upperi in my sister's blog here.


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Recipe Source: Amma

  • 3 unripe plaintain (ethakka)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 4-5 cups of coconut oil

How to Make Kerala Banana Chips:
  1. Make grooves into the skin of the plaintain and peel it off gently. Save the skin for a thoran (waste not!)
  2. Mix the turmeric powder in a bowl of water and immerse the peeled plaintain in this. Let it rest for 30 mins
  3. Heat oil in a pan and let it reach almost-smoking point
  4. Pat the soaked plaintain dry using kitchen towels, it's ok if it's a bit moist
  5. Using a slicer, slice the plaintain into thin discs. You can directly do this into the hot oil (which needs more practise) or do this into another bowl and then add it to the hot oil
  6. The chips will sizzle A LOT and then start to brown a bit. Don't let it turn too red, that will spoil the taste. The sizziling will almost subside when the chips are ready
  7. Mix the salt in about 2 cups water and keep ready
  8. Sprinkle this salt water over the chips when they are still in the oil but ready. Be careful while doing this since the oil is hot - just sprinkle, don't pour
  9. Give it a mix and then drain the chips to a kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil
  10. Fry all the banana pieces, let cool, and store in airtight containers. Since coconut oil tends to go rancid pretty quickly, finish off the chips within 2-3 days or store in the refrigerator for up to a month

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