Here's a recipe to make everyone at your Zoom holiday party jealous - and keep you healthy throughout the holiday season. This cheese appetizer is a surprising blend of flavors that benefits digestion, relieves constipation, and soothes a dry cough. Manchego cheese is made from the whole milk of manchega sheep from the La Mancha region of Spain. As we discussed in our last recipe, cheeses made from sheep’s milk are considered “warming” according to Chinese medicine and therefore easier on digestion than cheeses made from cow’s milk, which are “cold” in nature. We have topped this cheese with a unique banana chutney.
In the US, bananas are often thought of as a home remedy for diarrhea, made famous by the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast). The Chinese medicine use of bananas, however, is almost the exact opposite of the one suggested by this diet. Bananas are considered “sweet and cold.” They can “clear heat, detoxify, and moisten the intestines.” These properties make them useful for relieving a dry cough, a chronic sore throat, hemorrhoids, and constipation. (The BRAT diet may be consistent with the Chinese medicine understanding of bananas if unripe bananas are used. Some sources suggest that unripe bananas can improve diarrhea because they are quite fibrous, which break down as the bananas ripen.) Dates, raisins, and crystallized ginger together can aid digestion, supplement qi, and dissolve phlegm to relieve a cough.
We have used the aromatics of curry powder and the pungency of onion to balance both the sweet flavors of this chutney and its potential cloying tendencies. Try this surprisingly tasty and beneficial holiday treat.
Banana Chutney with Manchego
Prep Time / Cook Time
10 minutes / 25-30 minutes
Small white/yellow onion, small dice
12 Ounces Dates, chopped
2 Bananas, medium dice
2/3 Cup White Granulated Sugar
2/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 Cup Golden Raisins
2/3 Teaspoon Curry Powder
Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool and pair with room temperature Manchego cheese.
The recipes on The Way are intended as an East meets West look at food and its relationship to health and nutrition. Food is powerful, and every bite can either greatly benefit your system or effectively work against it. In Chinese Medicine, each grain, vegetable, meat, fruit, and spice has unique properties that can be harnessed to help us achieve and maintain balance in our bodies. Our recipes seek to incorporate some of the age-old principles of Chinese medicine into the culinary practices more familiar to the West.