Kaya varuthathu / Fried plantain chips is the most delicious paper thin slices fried in coconut oil. Now its totally up to you to act like a weirdo and have microwaved or dehydrated chips and later pop two tsps of coconut oil into ur mouth in the name of health or simply bite into freshly fried crisp crunchy chips made in coconut oil and enjoy it the natural way the malayalee grew up having coconuts and plantains. :)
These chips are made throughout the year these days but it is specially made in most homes for onam.
Onam is the important harvest festival of Kerala and the most secular one as it is celebrated by all the people there irrespective of religion, caste or creed. In most Hindu homes it is a 10 days long celebration with smaller feasts on the first few days and the grandest sadya on Thiruvonam. Floral carpets known as pookalam is laid at the entrance(courtyard) of each household to welcome the King Mahabali in whose remembrance onam is celebrated.
Nevertheless onam has become much commercialized. These days garment industry,caterers and florists have taken over the entire scene. U can get everything ready made. The more pompous its getting the lesser its about the union of family, their gathering and feasting.
So here is from the scratch homemade Kerala style plantain chips/ Kaya varuthathu in reminiscence of the past.
Kaya varuthathu is served on the left end of the banana leaf (tapering side). U can start eating it first as a snack, it mostly keeps u engaged while the other items are served on the leaf :)
On other days u may serve the Kerala banana chips (as it is famously called) with a hot cup of tea for evening snack.
|Keep a lid HANDY to catch splutters (if any water is left on the slices) Do NOT cover while frying.|
Nendrakaya /Ettakaya / Unripe green cooking plantain / Macho banana - 3 - 4
Oil for deep frying - (best with coconut oil but vegetable oil or sunflower oil can be used )
Turmeric -2 tsp to wash
1.Cut off the ends of the plantains and remove the outer green peel by making a long slit (without cutting the plantain)and opening like a wrapper.
Take a large pot of water add turmeric powder and immerse the whole plantains in it for half an hour.
Now its time to show ur slicing skill. Either slice finely like me or use the micro plane slicer go for the thinnest slice option. If ur are confident with the slicer u can slice it directly into the oil.( Thats how experts at mass production units of chips do)
Note :If u think the plantain are too starchy and stains ur hand badly wash it once more in turmeric water. It ensures the slices won't oxidize as it waits for frying.
Keep the slices on a large strainer and drain off all excess water give it a shake every now and then all the water goes off. (it may take upto half an hour)
2.Mix two tsps of salt in half cup water and keep it ready.
3.Heat a large wide mouthed wok pour oil into it till little more than half of it.Heat should be medium hot when u put one piece it should sizzle and take around 6-7 minutes to crisp up entirely not brown but should remain yellow.
4. Put the fully drained and almost dry slices into oil about one handful is one batch and more if ur wok is really big. Keep stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick to each other
When it is crisps up almost add salted water( right time is when u can feel the slotted ladle of yours hitting against dry wood).
Sprinkle 1 tsp of the salted water evenly on to the frying chips. (Don't worry nothing will happen there will be some sizzling noises that's fine don't just do't over do it that all)
5. Fry for two or three minutes more then remove onto a paper napkin. When cool keep it in air tight container. Use the plantain chips with in a week.
For more Kerala sadya traditional recipes check HERE.
- If u feel the chips have become soft due to humidity after two days then heat fresh oil quickly re-fry without browning and it will become crisp again.
- If using coconut oil it can go stale faster.
- Apply some oil on ur hands before peeling the plantains to avoid black stains on ur lovely hands.
- Wash the green peel thoroughly and it can be used while making kootu curry(chopped finely), thoran or Avial
Look for green firm slender varieties of plantains for best results.
Even if peel turns slightly yellow the chips will taste sweet. It does taste good in that stage too.(sweet and salty kind)
If u live in US look in the fresh produce aisle for cooking plantain or macho banana or look in Mexican stores.
OTHER PLANTAIN RECIPES: ( For ripe plantain)
Happy Onam to all my dear readers.