So a new recipe for banana bread wasn’t enough to get you enthused about your very ripe bananas again in lockdown? What about the best English recipe for Brazilian banananiha instead then?
This delicious banana snack isn’t particularly well known outside Brazil and most of the recipes are in Portuguese so here’s the best English recipe for Brazilian Banananiha, written by someone Irish…
Using just three ingredients of very ripe bananas, sugar and gelatine, banananiha is banana slow cooked and cooled to a texture between dried fruit and a jelly. It is cut into pieces and dipped in sugar to preserve very ripe bananas and make a sweet banana treat. Gluten free and ideal if you have no flour.
The recipe is best with powdered gelatine which very easy to buy right now compared to flour. It is also available on Amazon. Dr Oetker brand is halal as it is beef gelatine.
You can make the recipe vegan by using a powdered jelly like this from any supermarket or agar-agar powder. Do seek out a powdered setting agent rather than using sheets of gelatine or cubes of jelly but don’t worry if the only jelly you can get is flavoured. Just pick one that goes with banana!
To make 30 pieces:
- 8 very ripe bananas
- 250g sugar plus 100g for coating
- 2 sachets powdered gelatine or 100g powdered jelly
Mash up your very ripe bananas until they are as smooth as possible. Use a stick blender if needs be. you want to avoid too many lumps.
Put the mashed banana in a large saucepan along with the sugar and bring to the boil. It will look loose and liquidy and a soft yellow colour.
Reduce the heat enough to keep the banana at a rolling boil. You want it hot enough to reduce the liquid down and have the banana mixture blip and spit occasionally as it reduces.
When it reaches this heat sprinkle your sachets of gelatine in. It needs to be activated by heat but should not be boiled. Stir it in well to avoid any clumping.
You now want to reduce the banana mixture by about half or maybe two-thirds until it is a dark thick orange coloured paste that parts in the middle and stays apart for about 5 seconds when ready if you drag a spatula down it. This will take about 30 minutes for 8 bananas.
It can left to reduce while you do other things in the kitchen. Check and stir in every five minutes. It is a pan of boiling sugar so please keep kids and pets away and use a splatter guard for a frying pan if you have one.
While it is reducing, line a square brownie tin or dish with non stick parchment paper. You want the cubes of banananiha chunky enough to really bite into so try to use a small deep container instead of a shallow one.
Once the banananiha becomes very thick and sticky and almost hard to stir, it is nearly ready. Stay with it at this stage stirring for a minute or so and suddenly you’ll just see the texture you want. It’s hard to describe but it suddenly feels just right.
Pour it into the prepared dish and allow to cool and set overnight. Do not chill it.
Lift the whole slab of banananiha out using the paper and use a sharp knife to cut it into cubes of about 1.5 inches each. Toss two or three cubes at a time in the extra sugar to take the stickiness off and make them easy to store.
Repeat until all 25-30 pieces are coated. I used brown sugar but regular granualated sugar works too. They’ll keep for 3 months and are best in an airtight container but if you only have freezer bags, double dip in the sugar to stop them getting a little sweaty. You can also freeze them for up to 6 months and defrost as needed.
So if you need a recipe for very ripe bananas and either have no flour or just cannot see another loaf of banana bread, try banananiha. All without trying to Google Translate to English no less unless learning Portuguese was your lockdown goal?
And if you are in real lockdown laziness but still want Brazilian inspiration, simply mash your very ripe bananas with dry powdered milk like Nido for a creamy banana treat very popular across Brazil. Quite the welcome change from more banana bread!