indonesian memories – banana walnut butter

Memory labels that my most magical Summer…began in Indonesia.  I traveled to South East Asia with Brigham Young University’s Folk Dance Ensemble.  Like so many, I was smitten with the landscape, culture, food, and the lovely people.  I wish the time had been longer.

After about 22 hours on planes and buses, we arrived at our first stop, outside of Jakarta.    Welcomed at a beautiful estate, we ate and were honored to meet University sponsors that had made our visit possible.  Delirious from the trip, yet euphoric from the food and candlelight, I danced with friends until I thought I would collapse from exhaustion.

The next day we met  students from the university, and instant friendships were made.  They took us on a tour of their community.  Later we ate lunch with them and joined them in one of their favorite pastimes: karaoke.  It quickly became the longest karaoke session I think I’ll ever experience.

Major unrest had exploded the week before, and our directors had been watching to see if it would subside, allowing us to continue that part of our tour.  One by one, I noticed members of the group disappearing, and eventually, I was told we were to move quietly to a safer place.  The rioting had once again erupted.

That “safe place” turned out to be one of the most peaceful and gorgeous resorts I’d ever seen.  As we “hid out” i felt like I was in paradise.  We made friends with the workers at the hotel and eventually convinced our directors to put on a smaller version of the show we’d planned to present to the community…for our new friends in the University and hotel.  At night we would hear helicopters take foreign guests to safety.

Other than the wakeful helicopters, I slept well and played hard everyday: swimming & playing in the rain, eating amazing food and exploring the hotel.  Everything I tasted was divine…the produce incredible.  Each morning I would enjoy toast covered with a banana butter of sort.

Lately, I’ve been pondering those beautiful people, the surreal experience, and the delicious food.  As I have been daydreaming, a couple bunches of bananas turned ripe too quickly.  So, I thought i’d make some sort of banana butter…

I found recipes online that added pectin to make it a jam type thing, but i wanted something more natural, simpler, and better for us.  Where to use banana butter?

banana walnut butter

1/2 cup butter
6 medium bananas
3-4 tbs raw honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I used a little apple and pumpkin pie spice to get cloves and ginger etc. in there)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts

  1. Combine all in blender or food processor. Since I used a blend-tec, I put the vanilla and bananas in first and added the remaining ingredients so the motor wouldn’t have to work so hard.
  2. Pour into a glass jar or airtight container.  Banana butter should last about 3 months in your fridge or cold storage.
makes about 36-38 ounces (I filled 3 small jars)
Yes, we did get out just fine…we woke very early one morning and took a bus to Jakarta’s airport.  Ash, uncomfortable silence, and fear filled the air of Jakarta…but we were allowed to enter the airport and wait (sleeping on our bags) to  board a plane headed to Thailand.
Over 1000 died in the riots, the damage is difficult to even imagine…President Suharto resigned, resulting in reform and a new cabinet at the government.   Truly, my banana toast each morning had come with a price.  I’m sure there are few within those beautiful islands that were not deeply affected and/changed from the circumstances leading up to those dreaded days, and long after the riots.
When I returned that Fall, I went and bought this and this and this, to learn to make some of the unforgettable food we ate.  What are your favorite recipes you first tasted while away from home?  xo ~ katrina
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4 thoughts on “indonesian memories – banana walnut butter

  1. Oh, I would love to try this one. I have had many foreign exchange students from the orient and I too have learned to love the food. We cook many different things now and enjoy it. I loved reading about your wonderful experience. Isn’t it amazing how Heavenly Father can take even a hard time and manage to teach us what we need to know. Thank you for sharing.

    • How wonderful that you had “many” students in your home. We had one special student: Anne-Mette, from Switzerland…she is now my older sister. She has been such a positive influence from my teen years on…And you’re right, we learn so much more from hard things. I am still surprised at the peace I felt while there was so much chaos nearby. I hope to go back one day with my family. sending much luv to you and yours Patty Ann :)

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