Bananas and Milk for the Soul

When I moved back to Bombay for work, I lived alone. I didn’t cook much then and meals were mostly take-out given that I would return home from work often as late as 11 pm. The days at the office were long and demanding and I missed mom and her hot meals terribly when I returned to an empty apartment. There were times when I would want to go to bed without bothering with dinner, feeling sorry for myself. One day when mom called to ask how I was doing, she must have heard the waif in my voice and she said “Why don’t you make yourself some doodh kela and keep in the fridge? Never go to bed hungry…” Doodh kela! When was the last time I had some?

Mothers really know best, don’t they? After that day, I made sure I was well stocked on bananas and milk. This dish from my childhood was my dinner on unending, rotten work days and my breakfast on “Gotta run early, no time to breathe!’ days. But most of all, this dish became my mother’s cool, soothing hands on my forehead when I needed it most.

There is something insanely comforting about this simple, no-cook dish. So simple that it’s not much of a recipe, even. But add in a fistful of muesli in the morning and it turns into mom’s love served for breakfast. Add a hit of rose syrup and slivered almonds or pistachios in the night and it becomes a dessert, reminiscent of family evenings around the dining table. Thank you, mom.



Doodh kela 


5 ripe sweet bananas thinly sliced or roughly mashed

2 cups whole milk

2 tbsp caster sugar

A pinch of cardamom powder


  1. Peel the bananas making sure all the ‘string’ has been removed. Mash or slice the banana.
  2. Add the sugar, cardamom powder and milk. Mix well.
  3. Keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for a day before eating. This allows the banana to soften and mature further making the milk sweet and creamy as well.
  4. Add a handful of granola mix or crunchy muesli for breakfast or a flavoured syrup like rose, saffron or chocolate for dessert.



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