South Africans love bananas! I also think that I can be a bit, well, bananas when it comes to food flavours (according to my hubby!). When I say that we love bananas, I don’t just mean we eat it like everyone else does, which we do. We also love making things with it.
A couple of years ago now (it was our anniversary this week!!) the hubby and I tied the knot. We wanted a very traditional South African wedding breakfast and opted for these amazing caterers called Nyama. They brought with them a childhood favourite; a dish that only got served at weddings and special occasions… curried banana salad. Our wedding guests are still talking about that salad – it was very memorable for all the good reasons. I am sure that I will pluck up the courage and make this delicious salad for you at some point, but today we are going to just ease you in to the world that is South African Banana Salad.
You are probably now laughing at me and rolling your eyes at the same time, but there are over a 1000 banana varieties in the world – most commonly the one you would eat or use in your banana bread is called the Cavendish. It is sweet and soft and easier to digest. This is opposed to plantain for example that needs cooking and processing before you can digest it.
Bananas are actually a herb. It is the biggest known herb in the world. According to horticulture a banana is classified as a vegetable, but in cooking we really see it as a fruit since it is so sweet.
In addition to making bread when bananas reach their sell by date, it is also widely used in the making of baby food, juicing and even in the making of beer.
The good people of Central Africa are the biggest consumers of bananas (or plantain) in the world as they get around 30-35% of their daily calorie intake from bananas. Who knew!
In South Africa we love a good banana salad (piesang slaai in Afrikaans). We will eat this especially with curry dishes, a great Bobotie or at a braai (bbq). We also put banana on pizza paired with bacon or on toast with peanut butter and golden syrup.
Would you give banana on pizza a try? Trust me, if you like the whole pineapple-goes-on-pizza then you must try a banana – it is after all a vegetable!