Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pazhampori – Ripe Plantain Fritters from Kerala

When you make a list of things you should do on your culinary travel in Kerala, then Pazhampori has to find a place in your list! I would say, it is one of those iconic foods in Kerala cuisine. It is deep fried goodness made with a native variety of Kerala banana called Eathappazham or Nenthrappazham which are ripe plantains. The natural sweetness from the ripe plantains, when coated with a flour batter flavored with fragrance seeping out of the crushed cardamoms and deep fried in distinctly flavorful and aromatic coconut oil, is sure enough to take you till the doors of heaven! A bite into this warm, crispy yet soft delicacy, accompanied by a sip of hot tea or coffee is something that every Keralite loves to relish after a long day or on a rainy day or even as a mid-morning/evening snack.

Pazhampori is ubiquitous in Kerala. Since this particular variety of plantain is bountiful and abundant, men and women in charge of kitchen grab the frying pan and bunch of ripe plantains at the same breath, whenever we have some impromptu guests. Even when it is a pre-planned function, we have a soft spot for Pazhampori. In some places, because of the regional differences, it is also called as Eathakkaappam.

The taste of the Pazhampori made with the native variety available in Kerala is incomparable yet the ones made with the regular ripe plantains are also scrumptious. The only criterion is to look for fully ripe sweet plantains. The flour batter can be made with rice flour or wheat flour or all-purpose flour or even a combination of two types; some add beaten egg or baking powder to give an added texture to the outer covering. I have tried all the combinations and was stuck with maida and rice flour for a long time but now I am a convert. I prefer my mother’s simple recipe as it always gives me perfect crispy, soft and definitely not soggy, Pazhampori.

Recipe for Pazhampori/Kerala Banana Fritters

  • 3 fully ripe plantains/Kerala Banana/Nethrappazham/Ethappazham
  • ¾ cup rice flour
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour/Maida
  • 2 cardamom pods crushed
  • 3 tbsp sugar (adjust depending on the sweetness of the plantain)
  • Around ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Make a batter by mixing rice flour, all purpose flour, turmeric powder and sugar with water; finally flavour it with crushed cardamoms and mix well into a smooth batter without any lumps.
  • Diagonally slice ripe plantains into thin discs of around 3-4 inches length.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pot, in medium heat and when the oil is hot enough, dip diagonally cut banana slices into the batter and coat the fruit well; slide these batter dipped fruit into the hot oil and deep fry, occasionally flipping each side till the edges start to brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the frying pan and strain it on a paper towel, to remove the excess oil. Continue frying other banana slices the same way without over crowding the pan. Serve hot with a cup of tea or coffee.

When you are in Kerala, please be sure to visit one of those unpretentious small tea-shops called Chaayakkada or the omnipresent road side eateries called, Thattukada or a small scale restaurant, to experience a warmth you will not find in any sophisticated restaurant…….. and in such ordinary places you will find Pazhampori in a different shape. They usually serve the long Pazhampori, like the ones on the picture above, instead of the small diagonally or vertically sliced ones prepared at homes.

To recreate that at home, thinly slice a ripe plantain lengthwise and dip it in batter and deep fry in oil. You can make around 3-4 long ones from one ripe plantain.

If you travel by train, then you are sure to catch this variety almost at every platform. Get your wallet ready when you hear the quintessential railway platform jingle, “Chaaya…..kaappee…..pazhamporeee……..” The vendor will come wearing a mundu and shirt, carrying an aluminum tray filled with Pazhampori on his head, and a huge steel kettle with tea/coffee in his hand. As he fills that flimsy plastic glass with the steaming tea/coffee and grabs a couple of pieces of Pazhampori, you will also notice the wear and tear on his face, that hidden gaze in his eyes with an undertone of all the struggle he has been facing to make both ends meet!!!!

Am curious…..what is your favourite railway platform food? What is your regional platform specialty…..? Enlighten me, please :)

Related Posts:

Ela Ada Plantain Pudding Ariyunda Chakkappazham Porichathu


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  1. Hi shn ! Mine would be the cutlets that they sell in the train. And for platform food, i would always say 'bread omlette' and 'Vijaya lassi' from Vijayawada :)

  2. Hey Mish, Ingane kothipikalle. I am so missing Kerala appozha oru yummy pazhampori post! :)
    I remembered my childhood days when we used to travel by train to kerala and on the third day we all eagerly wait for palakkad station to come just to have parippuvadas and pazhamporis.
    No second opinion is my case, the vote goes to pazhampori as favourite platform food :)

  3. The biriyani we get from Shornur station!

  4. im from tamilnadu! :) and i think the most popular snack is plantain fritters!
    only its made with gram flour and its really spicy!!

  5. Have had this, and totally love it.

  6. Lovely! The ones that I have had from roadside shops and bakeries in Kerala are very oily. I know they're supposed to be deep fried, but the ones I've had were always oozing truck loads of oil. I always wanted the recipe to make them at home. Thanks! :)

    Well, when I travel by train, I want to try out EVERYTHING. :) I always end up with a stomach upset the next day. Its hard to choose a favourite, but if you must, then it would be a tie between bhel (or moori) and vada pav with dry red chutney and close second would be fried chana dal with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, masala, coriander.. yummm

    PS. love that little bow on the fork and very appetizing picture too.

  7. Ah..hw descriptive the post is ! Transports me to that place! Where do u arrange for the ella leaves? The bow on fork is ssooooo very cute! Creativity oozing frm simple things!! Tks for sharing the yum recipe!

  8. Hey!
    I miss Pazhampori so much.
    This is one of those easiest thing my mom used to make over the weekend.
    May be its her fav too.
    Only when my cousins outside Kerala told me they long for it,I realized it is something valuableunlike I thought.
    Veetil povumbol,enthayalum njan kazhikkum benana fritters! :D

    Fav platform food:Bread Omelette from Kazipet Station, Andhra Pradesh.(preferably somewhere around 2am) :D


  9. Love your presentation. It's drizzling outside and I'd do anything for some pazhampori served on a green vazhayila.

  10. easily my favourite tea time was never enough how much you eat it...and strange that i would grab it even before it is cooled enough from the fry pan..:-P

    there is modified version of it too where they keep grated coconut between the slice before frying em in oil..though i still prefer the basic version of it..

    my fav train food is probably uzhunnu vada and chutney...and if i am really hungry the parotta egg curry would be my favourite!:-)

  11. Kill me better. Elegant photos

  12. As he fills that flimsy plastic glass with the steaming tea/coffee and grabs a couple of pieces of Pazhampori, you will also notice the wear and tear on his face, that hidden gaze in his eyes with an undertone of all the struggle he has been facing to make both ends meet!!!!

    Simply brillient!!!!

    where do u get banana leaves? i have searched length and breadth of my city and haven’t found fresh leaves :(

    and we make similar nendhra balehannu fritters (without any coating) but pan fry it on tawa with ghee… and then dip it in thick sugar syrup… heaven…

    and my fav platform foods have to be mirchi bajji, onion pakoda, muri, spicy plantain chips, spicy jackfruit chips, masala peanuts (u know that spicy type)…oh my god!!! There r many more to go… and oh, not to forget lemon rice wrapped in banana leaves… girl, u r really mean :P why u had to evoke all those food memories :) he he he…

  13. how i miss this!! ethapazham was non-existent in hyderabad and i am yet to see it in singapore too :(

  14. aauuuooooo kothipichi kollo?? vayayil kappal odikkam ippol!!
    needless to say, my fav is pazhampori that we get in shornnur station!!

  15. Hi Shn,The pazhampori looks great!!!For the past 3 days I was checking your blog for the new entry!!.managed to get vazha ila?

    Oh! u reminded me of the calicut& shoranur rlwy stns.I always preffered the parippu vada coz it used to be crispy even when cold and my second fav is dosa and ullichammanthi from one vendor in shoranur stn. That was awesome!!!!

  16. I think I will have to stop comming here ;-)
    Everytime i visit here i see dishes which i love and am missing from back home.
    I love pazhom pori.
    I adore and love them.
    Here it is always difficult to get the same bananas, unbless if you are lucky when u go ti chinese shops.

  17. Loved the presentation and the pics...great post..pazhampori sounds delicious.. I have heard so much about this but have yet to taste it....

  18. Hi Shn!

    Your recipes are great! I have tried a few- they always come out perfect. If you get around to Vattayappam and the regular Vellayappam I would truly appreciate it. I look forward to your new entries. Cant wait for the next one. About train food. I have been on kerala trains only a few times, I did enjoy the uppumav and unnuzvada.

  19. my all time fave!!
    Come Dec, I am leaving for a month visit to India and on those train trips, guess what I will have with my kaapi!!

    also, I have had pazhampori with aval stuffed inside it. it is also equally yummy.

  20. fav platform food ? for god's sake, i can't think of a list that will ever conclude !

    train food is memories, for me. memories of journeys... the vada paav from Rathnagiri on the Konkan route; the vegetable salad put together in minutes by the vendours jumping onto the train from some god-forsaken station in rural andhra or karnataka, bunches of juicy grapes from the women who clamber onto the compartments from the vicinity of grape orchards in, again, andhra or karnataka, the dosa-s at tirupati, milk served in clay cups in jhansi or ittarsi...the unending streams of chaayaa.... chaayaaa... cofeee.... cofeeeyaaaa...., listening to the murmer like tea... coffee... in the wee hours of the morning, driftig between sleep and wakefulness.... thats train for you....

  21. I love Pazhampori for tea and this is one item that I regularly make it at most favorite outside food was parippuvada, Pazhampori, porotta with egg curry,especially the gravy with the egg curry. I so wish there is a "Chayakkada" here in USA.

  22. we get only raw banana.. usually we have make it ripe.. and the pazhampori won't be that good as we use riped one..
    Did you use the ripe one..? or like me,,:-))
    Anywas,, nice.. keep up your good work..

  23. After coming here, I've only had the frozen pazhampori... I can't find good ripe plantains here.. :(

    Love those pics Shn... those banana leaves look so fresh, I only get the frozen variety in that too... That fork bow is really cute :)

  24. Ohhh pazhamporiii!!! :) like evryone else i also felt the bow on the fork was realllly cute, my favuorite station food is Pazhampori! and ofcourse parupuvada and uzhunuvada from trichur station,but then they are very oily, the porotaa-mutacurry is on my list too, infact i think food gets tastier when its eaten on a train :d
    My grandmom makes plans for food to take on the train weeks before the actual journey, i even remember taking a mutton varati fry with appam to eat on a train :D
    We make pazhampoli at home all the time, but skip the turmeric powder.

  25. I donnt like pazhampori....donnt give me that look other people do when i tell them this....i just love love the parippuvadas and all vadas of shornur station....


  26. Pazhampori....ah..the ultimate favorite..but I am biased here though..I don't much prefer the almost like an eathakka shape pazham pori..I like them small and that I can eat more of them..;-)My favorite would be the "parippu vadem chaayayum"..;-)..btw,have updated the post on Muleeku and you can view the pic now..;-)

  27. Pazhampori is ma favourite @ railway station. the best part is u can eat the outer cover (pori) and pazham separately if we buy from station.:) thanks to bakingsoda.

    Thanks Mishmash... have been a using blog as a reciepe guide. Helpful for bachelors like me to get a break from hotel food.

  28. How excited I am! A new recipe for plantains that I know I'd love.

  29. I always considered pazhampori as the street food of Kerala! Here, it is available in supermarkets. I used to find the halwa sold on railway platforms attractive!

  30. Lovely prelude! i really love the way u write! brilliant!

    "undertone of all the struggle he has been facing to make both ends meet!!!!" --- awesome use of words!

    Mine would be the masala vada they sell at Railway platforms!

    Lovely presentation n yummy post!

  31. This is my all time favorite snack and whenever I go home amma makes it. When I thought I should diet, you are tempting me with your yummy delicacies :(

  32. Oh, my...I've made fried ripe Latin plantains as a side dish (love them), but they are not battered nor spiced. I am late to make dinner - now I only want a plate of these before me. Do you think they will spoil my appetite? ; )

    Hot, squishy, giant pretzels with lots of coarse salt are a favorite platform snack on my train routes.

  33. hmmmm muzhuvan theerthu kanum alle..orennam onnu matti vachoode....nyway...kidu picture nd presentation....

  34. Pazham poree, always. Everytime we would come home for holidays, I would (I have my husband for company now in this) wait till we reached Shoranur or Trissur to eat Pazhamporee. Except these days it is usually what my huasband calls "Kayaporee" because the banana is always not quite ripe!

    When we are in Ernakulam we go to Bharath Cofee House. Their pazhamporee is yummy.

  35. Hi All, Thanks a lot for sharing your favourite platform food and regional specialties....I truly appreciate your time and effort.....I havent tasted some of the items you mentioned...but i will keep that in mind next time if I get to travel through those places....thanks a was interesting and fun to read your little notes :)

    Naagurinchi,am sure to get a glass of that lassi if i travel to that side at any point in time....will keep in mind, thanks :)

    Seema, travelling three days in train.....oops....i did that one time , on a trip to delhi and i remember my mother packed food for all of us for those three days to make sure that we dont get any stomach upsets coz of all the train food....very rarely we were allowed to buy from platforms :)

    Divya, Shornur station seems to be a hit with many here!

    Raj, oh...i have seen that but never tasted it though...

    Anudivya, :)

    blinkandmiss,when you make this at home, place it on a paper towel and drain the excess oil. I havent tasted both the items u mentioned :( Thanks anyways, the bow is made from plantain leaf itself.

    Purnima, I get frozen leaf from asian or mexican stores and the bow is made from plantain leaf itself. Thanks a lot for your sweet notes :)

    Nikhil,hey, how ve u been? :) eating bread omelette at 2 am!!! my u re one of those sleepless souls , eh? :)) hope you got ur pazhampori craving satisfied over the weekend :)

    jayashree, need vazha ela too....?? thats a specific craving :))

    Mathew, heheh...i guess we should never be in the same kitchen to avoid a fight over pazhapori :)) sometimes when guests come, me and my brother used to wait till they leave and then it is a 50 metre sprint from the gate to the kitchen to grab the pazhamporis kept for us :D i have not tasted the stuffed pazhampori....never knew about such a version....

    Anon, LOL! Thanks :)

    Sia, Thank you very much :) Getting a fresh leaf on my part of the world is a wishful thinking...i buy frozen ones from the asian/chinese/mexican stores....once thawed, it is as good as the fresh ones.yeah, we have a similar preparation too, caramelised plantains in ghee and sprinkled with sugar ..hmm..yumm :) well, you have a long list of favorites :D

    Nags, aww...i wish you could find may not get the native kerala variety but am sure ripe plantains will be available somewhere....

    Divz,hey...shornur station seems to be a culinary paradise for many here...njan eppazhum paathiraarthiyil aanu avide etharu.. :)

    nands, yeah, i get frozen leaf :) parippuvada and chaaya from the platform is one of my favs too.....:)

    Happycook, hehehe...then you should come here more often if it makes you think of home more often :))yeah, in our place also it is available mainly in chinese shops.

    Usha, ohh then you shouldnt waste time...go ahead and fry some yummy ones:)

    Anon,Thanks for the feedback....will try to post the recipes you requested....

    Upsi, with aval i have never heard of it sweetened aval? anyway, have a great vacation....and come back with lots of memories :)

    Renu, seemed to have travelled a lot by train and what a vivid and lively memories.....i guess you should go ahead and makes a post on those tasty travels :)

    Geena, hmm...there re several ppl who share ur same wish of chaayakkada :)) lets hope that someone will see the business opportunities :)

    Ras, thanks :) no i get almost ripe ones here...and then i keep it for 2 more days to get the right ripeness......

    Sig, i had mailed u , hope u got it! me too get the frozen leaves...but when thawed, they turn out ok....bow is made out plantain leaf bow :P

    Vidya, yeah u re right...appetite is more while travelling on a train and food gets more tasty mother also carries food and she makes some dry meat prep and chappathi to avoid all the mess :) Btw, add turmeric next will get a nice golden colour :)

    Rashmi, heheh...sorry, I couldnt help...I did give u that look :D

    Divya, hey thanks a lot...i could view the does resemble our sukhiyan :)

    Howlingwolf, LOL..i liked that 'cover ' part :) Thanks for the feedback....great to know that i could be of help to someone! :)

    Susan, oh you should def'tly give it a sure you will like this :)

    Jyothsna, my weakness was the thirunelveli halwa :D

    Vij, Thanks a lot for such encouraging word...glad to know that you enjoyed the post.....masala vada and chaaya.,,,,hmm ...can imagine the taste :)

    Dhanya, diet ..whts that?? Isnt it for people who crossed 50...not for us....:D

    susan, i will say no to dinner if someone gives me a plate of this :D pretzels...hmm...i awlays go for the cinnamon coated onel...i crave for one now!!

    Tina, angane maati vekkuvanenkil njan ariyatha oridathu vekkendi varum...:)) thanks!

    Aparna, sad if they re using not so ripe ones......I remember having cutlet from Bharath coffee was quite filling and tasty that time :) Btw, thanks for that link...a visual treat!


  36. My favorite are puran polis from maniyaachi and idlies in madurai from Murugan Idly kadai..

  37. Excellent write up, and the pazhampori served with it looks great too right from the post, the pictures, and the little green bow:)

  38. mish, i have travelled a bit, but not as much as i would like to, or need to... travel is something like a deep need for me... let me think about that travel post...

  39. Hi Shn,
    I love those cutlets they sell in train. I remember when I was a kid, begging my mom to get me a couple of cutlets and her concern about hygiene issues which I truly didn't care...

  40. Hi Mish

    Difficult to get nadan banana- can I try the local banana - would you modify the recipe?

  41. Hello shn, Your cookery blog is simply wonderful.... I love reading the Keralite tidbits preceding the recipes.... It immediately transports me back to my home in Kerala & makes me homesick for my mom! :) I abs love cooking & ur blog is for me like candy to a kid! Take care!


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