Trying to spice up a gluten-free or grain-free diet is not easy, so learning about new ingredients that can help you do just that is always a bonus. One such ingredient is banana flour.
Banana flour – the facts
Did you know that flour can be made out of a surprisingly large number of things? Most fruit and vegetables with a high starch content can be dried and ground into a product that looks like conventional wheat flour and can be used in the same way. One of these starchy fruits is the green or under-ripe banana. This secret has long been known in the Caribbean, Africa and Jamaica, where the climate and abundance of green bananas make this flour cheaper than wheat flour. As well as being gluten-free, this flour also provides gut-friendly fibre and is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy addition to anybody’s diet. And, don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like banana once processed. In fact, it has a neutral flavour that makes it ideal for both sweet and savoury dishes.
How banana flour is made
Should you wish, you could have a go at making your own banana flour by hitting the market or supermarket and buying a few bundles of green bananas. You then need some sunshine – plenty of that in Singapore – and a mortar and pestle! If you don’t have the time and energy, it’s becoming increasingly easy to source the flour online, in supermarkets and health food stores. Commercially, banana flour is made by peeling, chopping, drying and grinding of green bananas. Traditionally, the process has been done by hand although it is becoming more and more mechanised, with large-scale commercial production taking place in Africa and South America. It takes around 10kg of raw bananas to make 1kg of banana flour and, as well as eating healthily, you’re doing your bit for the environment as it saves surplus green bananas going to waste.
What can I use the flour for?
You can use banana flour in any recipe that calls for wheat flour. It actually makes high-carbohydrate products such as pasta more digestible with a lower glycaemic load and higher antioxidant properties. It is also perfect for making cakes, waffles, biscuits, pancakes, muffins, banana bread and more.
Healthy dining in Singapore
While we can’t guarantee that only banana flour is used in the following healthy-option restaurants in Singapore, they do offer a good variety of gluten-free and healthy dishes. Go Italian at the Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar or enjoy your favourite Asian flavours at Coriander Leaf. Makisan brings you some of the tastiest sushi dishes in town while, if you want a healthy drink to accompany your meal, book a foodpanda delivery from Mission Juice.