A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting a dear friend of mine in Muscat, Oman. And to kickoff the weekend, she prepared a mouth-watering home-cooked lunch to give me a taste of the local cuisine. For a bona fide foodie like my self, it was ideal way to start the holiday.
The delicious dish I sampled was called Mouz bil Narjeel or simply Green Banana with Coconut. It’s a common household fare with an East African influence usually prepared with meat or fish. Why I loved it? Because it’s made using unprocessed, gluten-free, dairy-free & paleo-friendly ingredients. Totally right up my alley. Although the dish prepared for me contained prawns, I’ve attempted to recreate my own vegetarian version which ended up tasting slightly different from the original but did gain a plate-licking stamp of approval from my husband (a fussy eater may I say!).
Traditionally, Mouz bil Narjeel is eaten as an accompaniment to a protein main but I ate it with a warm whole grain
Arabic (Pita) bread over lunch and it was divine. I’d just like to point out that the base of this dish is made of coconut milk which, although have many health benefits, is also high in calories. So do consume sporadically and in moderation. Good luck with the whole moderation thing because it really tastes that good!
5 Green Bananas (peeled, cleaned, sliced & boiled in salted water till cooked. approx 12-15 mins)
1/4 cup White Onions (chopped finely)
2 large Tomatoes (chopped finely with peel & seeds)
2 small cloves Garlic (crushed in mortar & pestle)
1/2 tbsp light Olive oil
3/4 cup + 1tbsp Coconut milk (organic)
Sea salt (according to taste)
2 handfuls of Spinach (leaves only. boiled briefly and rinsed in cold water)
1 green Chilli (deseeded, sliced diagonally)
1/4 tsp Coconut palm sugar (optional)
Heat oil over medium-high heat in frying pan. When the oil bubbles, add garlic and onion and sautéed till lightly browned.
Add the onion/garlic content from the frying pan and tomatoes into a blender and blend well while leaving the frying pan over the stove on medium-high heat.
Add 1 tbsp of coconut milk to the frying pan. When it starts to bubble, add green chilli and sautéed for a couple of minutes.
Reduce heat to low, add tomato content from the blender to the frying pan along with the remaining coconut milk. Keep stirring non-stop till the gravy starts to bubble (approx. 10-15 mins) adding sea salt and coconut palm sugar (if your using) mid way through.
Increase heat to medium, add the green bananas and leave the curry to simmer till it thickens - stirring occasionally.
Add spinach about 5 mins into the simmering process then continue to let the curry simmer. It will take approximately 30-40 minutes till it fully thickens.
If more salt is needed, add it and stir before serving.
About 25 minutes into the simmer process, I used the cooking spatula to break (but not totally mush) the green banana up into even smaller pieces so they absorb maximum flavours. You can do this or not if you prefer more solid banana pieces - up to you. Remember to go organic whenever you can!