June 2014

Our walk along the shore of the Lake of Constance to have tea at Montfort Schloss and to the Museum Munzhof, Langenargen on 30th April in the drizzling rain ended at our friends’ house for dinner where this roughly 70 cm tall banana tree with two little suckers in the pot greeted us in the dining room. It jolted awake my remembrance of the wonderful taste of tree ripened fresh bananas!

In the temperate area around the Lake of Constance a banana tree needed 15 years to mature whereas in Malaysia it needed about 18 months! Then the grower can harvest his banana, wait another 18 months for the next harvest from the suckers left behind by the mother tree which withers to death once its fruits are ripe.

Pisang tanduk (pisang = banana, horn banana) is green and is about 30 cm long.

Huge pisang tanduk

Huge pisang tanduk

The skin is relatively thick. You boil, fry or roast them. This kind of banana is starchy like potatoes. (This is not my favourite.)






Embun in the yard

Another kind of banana with thick skin is the pisang embun. Embun means dew. Most probably because of the abundance of glistening morning dew on its leaves. This moderately big banana smells very good. The skin is green when it is unripe and pale yellow when it is ripe.Then it is easily peeled. It is about 15 to 20 cm long. The villagers like to plant such a tree in their yards because it is an undemanding plant and produces 15 to 35 kg very tasty bananas per floral spike. However, once these fruits are ripe, they spoil easily. The kind we get here in Switzerland in the supermarkets selling under the name of Chiquita or Dole look to me like pisang embun. Unfortunately the artificial ripening process produces mealy bananas.

Then there is the pisang awak which means “your banana”.

Pisang awak: your banana

Pisang awak: your banana

The leaves of this specie is most often used for wrapping food because of its aroma. The fruit itself is definitely very versatile. I like it cooked in coconut milk with palm sugar and sago pearls which is known as pengat pisang, see my recipe). The flower called jantung pisang (banana heart) makes a very delicious salad while the trunk could be striped and processed into bast.

My favourite: pisang emas

My favourite: pisang emas

These barely 10 cm golden yellow bananas, pisang ‘mas (emas = gold) are my absolute favourite. The skin is thin. They are fragrant, creamy and sweet and for direct consumption. You can find them more and more often in the Asian supermarkets and our Migros and Coop chain stores.

Despite the unfavourable carbon footprint balance Nenek would make one dish with banana or part of the banana tree, naturally depending on the availability in Oerlikon.

5th Event in the Year of the Horse 

When: Friday, 27.06.2014

Time: 19.30

Where: Oerlikon, 5 minutes’ walk from Oerlikon Railway Station



Starter – freshly grounded herbs and spice soup

Salad – Jantung Pisang (only when available) otherwise chinese cabbage

Main course:  stew pork in 5 spices, fresh vegetables and rice

 G’s dessert

Tea or Coffee

CHF 100 per person (incl. 1/2 bottle of wine)

go to make-your-reservation