Toasted Waa Bananas and Train Fried Rice

Being in lockdown can make some people go bananas, but in a lockdown bananas can also be a source of joy.

P’Pew, my dietitian friend, stopped sending me recipes from Bangkok when the Covid situation was getting worse. She stopped experimenting with new dishes as she had to stick to what was available in the supermarkets. She started to send jokes on WhatsApp like: “I need to social distance from the fridge; I tested positive for excess weight! “

Then some of her friends dropped by with home-grown bananas, cookies and Chinese buns. The spirit of giving and sharing was still alive, despite the pandemic. P’Pew started to share food photos with me again, beginning with the bananas. She baked some bananas in a toaster when the skin of the bananas started to turn brown. Baked bananas can be kept longer.

Method

Lightly press the peeled bananas with the prong end of a fork so that they are a little flat. By doing this, the bananas will have shallow marks which will allow steam (water) to evaporate so that the bananas will be drier than fresh ones.

The bananas have natural sweetness. There is no need to add any sugar.

Bake in oven toaster at medium high heat.

Type of bananas

The bananas are Waa bananas, they are short and round, and they are common in Thailand and other South East Asian countries. The flesh of the banana is not yellow, but ivory. It is the first and last solid food for most Thais. They are rich in nutrients and they used to be very cheap, or even free in some cases where they were grown at home.

The bananas obviously cheered P’Pew up. She sent a photo of the Kao Phad Rot Fai (translated literally as “train fried rice”) which P’Pad, her sister, cooked.

Train fried rice

“Kao Phad Rot Fai has been the signature dish on Thai trains ever since they started serving food on trains. You can find this dish in many restaurants. It’s easy to cook and you don’t need any fresh vegetables (like cucumber spring onion) to accompany this dish. Fried egg can be served on the side. I had mine with a crispy white egg (old fashioned Thai-style).” P’Pew

Ingredients

  1. meat (any kind),

2. tomato

3. onion

4. kai lan

5. a bit of thick soy sauce for colouring

Barley and banana muffins

Back in Singapore, there has also been kampung spirit (kampung means village, kampung spirit means neighbourly spirit). When I went for my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, a friend, who lives down the road, gave me a bottle of home-made barley water. We had been told to drink a lot of water before being vaccinated. Barley water has a cooling effect and is good for hydration. When we were both going to have our second dose of the vaccine, I made chicken soup with melon and barley for both of us. When we had both been fully vaccinated, she gave me banana muffins made from home-grown bananas harvested by her son-in-law. They were great as a treat.

The pandemic has brought people together in many new ways, including through sharing home-grown bananas and barley water.

By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 27 May 2021

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