Ethapazham/ Nenthra Pazham/banana halwa is best when made with nice ripe plantains. It takes a little time to make this halwa,but it is worth the effort. Plantain halwa is very popular in Kerala and you get the best banana halwa is Kozhikode, a city in North Kerala. The Kozhikodan black halwa is most popular along with this banana halwa. It takes a lot of practice and effort to make the most authentic version. The secret behind a perfect halwa is uniform high heat and constant stirring. Traditionally this is made in urali heavy bottom wide vessel made of thick bell metal. Here I used a cast iron skillet to make halwa.This is a simplified home made version.
Ripe plantains/Nendra pazham- 5 small sized
Sugar- 1 cup
Powdered Jaggery- 1 cup
( or you can use two cups of sugar)
Ghee- 1/3- 1/2 cup
Cardamon powder- 1 tsp
Chopped cashew nuts- 3 tbs
Chop ripe plantain/ethapazham into small pieces. If possible peel off the center portion which has black seeds. Heat 2 tbs of ghee in a heavy bottom pan and toast the cashew nuts till golden brown. Remove and keep aside for later garnish.
In the same pan add the chopped plantains and saute for six to eight minutes. It will change from pale yellow to golden brown.Add the jaggery water and cook till it is mashed up and gets reduced. At this stage add sugar and stir continuously for another 8-10 minutes and in between go on adding the ghee to prevent it from sticking.Add cardamon powder and chopped roasted cashew nuts. The halwa is ready when it leaves the edges of the pan and can be rolled into a ball with the spatula. You can also see ghee separating. The whole process will take around 25- 30 minutes. Take a greased steel plate or tray and spread this mixture evenly (use the back side of a spoon to spread and make it smooth). Allow this to set for three to four hours and then cut into desired shapes.
Hope you will all enjoy!