The making of the famous Kerala banana chips

Kerala cuisine is different and is known for some of its dishes. One of the famous eatables is the fried banana chips, known locally as ‘upperi’. In Kerala, it is the ‘nendhra vazha’, a variety of banana, that is used to make the chips. The chips are always fried in coconut oil. Both ripe and unripe bananas are used for this variant. Sometimes they are coated with masala or jaggery to form both spicy and sweet variants. It is an integral part of the traditional Kerala meal called ‘sadya’, served during weddings and traditional festivals such as Onam.

My native being Kerala, I have had access to these chips right from childhood, However, I must admit to not being too fond of them. Typically, I dont like the feel of oil in my mouth. And these do leave a distinct taste of the coconut oil in my mouth. That said, you never come back from a Kerala trip without buying the chips. I do, for friends and family; hardly ever for myself.

Anyway, during this last trip to Kerala (see daughter at the beach and Athirapally falls), our last stop was at Palghat, where I have my maternal uncle. As we were winding up with our trip and getting ready to head back to Bangalore, he took us on a little trip through the lanes of the Palghat town – we walked through the ‘agraharam’ of Kalpathy (post coming up), he then bought us some famous ‘dosa’s for breakfast and then took us to this little shop, which is his usual stop to pick up chips from. He has bought chips from this shop for many years now and for everybody he knows.

Kerala Chitra - Chitra Aiyer Photography

As we walked thro the lane where this tiny shop was, the smell of the various chips greeted us. There were many little shops that were stacked to the brim with different chips. What came as a surprise was when I realised that all of these guys made the chips right there.

The action offered a good photo-op, and the light was nice. So, out came the camera. And here are the pics documenting the making of the chips.

Kerala chips - Chitra Aiyer Photography

A large vessel of freshly made chips greeted us outside the little shop.

Walking past his cash counter and through the narrow passageway, led me to the little kitchen area at the back. I found this man slicing off the bananas into the hot oil ….

Kerala Chips - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Kerala Chips - Chitra Aiyer Photography

enjoying what he does best …

Kerala Chips - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Kerala Chips - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Just outside the kitchen, in the semi-open area, sat this man peeling the bananas….

Kerala Chips - Chitra Aiyer Photography

The freshness of it all was amazing – they were making it right there, and as it was cooling off, the chips were packed, sealed, and stacked.

Kerala Chips - Chitra Aiyer Photography

The owner of this little shop … packing me some ‘halwa’ for my friends back in Bangalore.

The best part was, after all our purchase, he figured we were heading back to Bangalore and so packed us a packet of chips for the road. Great shooting opportunity. I enjoyed the light. Hope you all enjoyed the pics.

However, I must say again how I neither enjoy eating the chips nor the halwa. So, there …

All pics used here are mine. Please do not use them without my permission.


7 Responses to “The making of the famous Kerala banana chips”

  1. […] Chitra Aiyer | The making of the famous Kerala Banana chips chitra-aiyer.com/blog/2010/11/the-making-of-the-famous-kerala-banana-chips.html – view page – cached Kerala cuisine is different and it is known for some of its dishes. One of the famous eatables is the fried banana chips, known locally as ‘upperi’. Suring our recent trip to Kerala, my uncle took us on a little trip through the lanes of the Palghat town – we walked through the ‘agraharam’ lanes of Kalpathy (post coming up), and then he bought us some famous ‘dosa’s for breakfast and took us to… Read moreKerala cuisine is different and it is known for some of its dishes. One of the famous eatables is the fried banana chips, known locally as ‘upperi’. Suring our recent trip to Kerala, my uncle took us on a little trip through the lanes of the Palghat town – we walked through the ‘agraharam’ lanes of Kalpathy (post coming up), and then he bought us some famous ‘dosa’s for breakfast and took us to this little shop, which is his usual stop to pick up chips. The action offered a good photo-op, and the light was nice. So, out came the camera. A post with many pics … View page Tweets about this link […]

  2. Ummmmm….. Did I tell you, you are my BFF 😉 I just looooove Kerala banana chips fried in coconut oil. Yummmmm and that black halwa. Chitra this is too much. Please put up pictures of Rishi Valley, I will enjoy them and not land up as a case of crying blubber over my keyboard :) heh heh heh.

    How wonderful. I had no idea that they would actually slice the chips directly into the hot oil! Awesome. I really enjoyed the series of pictures. I get to see the work behind my favorite snack :-). We bring banana chips from India and finish it in no time. Only my younger and I will eat them, thankfully! 😀 We will share even the khara buns with friends but not these :)

  3. chitra, a fan and a regular reader love your work. i love the banana chips they melt in the mouth.
    i have comment about your disclaimer in each of your article about using your pics. i agree with the principle but would like to know if you offer the subjects of your pictures the opportunity to not pose for your pics or in other words tell them that you maybe posting their pics online (and maybe profiting monetarily or otherwise) and they may one day they may wish their pics was not online especially the young children who are subjects of your great pics. i see that the pics of your kids are always shot to not show their faces and i really understand and appreciate this as a dad myself. just a thought hopefully you wont be offended.

  4. I wish the pictures came alive. Hmmm… no such luck!.
    Anyways, good write up. I like such native topics.

  5. I never heard about banana chips earlier. These are looking so yummy in the pics. Next time when I will be there, definitely enjoy these chips.

  6. Savaari. Why are you such a fake? In the name of social media, if you spam sites with crap – it just reflects the fact that you are desparate and don’t believe in your own product.

    Now, even if you have the greatest product ever – the only association I have with the Savaari brand is that it’s a bunch of people who are desparate to create link juice and spam sites. Way to go!!

    -Raj

  7. Pictures are good. Knowing that it is made out of coconut oil, and is oily, and not so good for health, like any other fried items, still once I dig into a packet it is difficult to control myself. Thankfully we don’t buy it so often, sometimes, when we have people visiting from Coimbatore they bring us a packet from their favorite shop.
    Btw, My3, good to see you here, even I slice the chips directly in the oil.

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