Banana Rum Loaf | Monkey Business in Kudremukh

"Oh, isn't he just adorable," I cooed like a proud and devoted aunt.  Deep eyes peered up at me out of the darkness and safety of his mother's arms. The little one seemed so small and helpless. Mama looked up at me as she cradled her little baby close, her long fingers stroking the infant gently. As our eyes met, I felt her appeal to my sense of humanity. I couldn't drive away now without doing a thing.

"We must get out and give them something to eat," I urged Hansom as a burst of compassion exploded within me.

"No, please don't," said Hansom. Clearly he had work to do on exercising his sympathy muscle.

"Look, it's just the two of them. It's no trouble at all. See here now. We have some bananas, biscuits and my Banana Rum bread," I said rifling through our food satchel. "I'm sure, mama will appreciate some of these things. She looks so hungry."

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"Here, carry the food satchel, while I hold the camera. There are such beautiful views of the gorge. I want to get some good photos since we're getting out here anyway," I said, handing Hansom the food bag.

Just a moment ago, Hansom and I had been winding our way through the hills of Kudremukh in Chickmaglur district in the Western Ghats of India. At my insistence we had slowed down along a little bridge to admire the sparkling river flowing through a magnificent gorge, when we spotted mum and baby sitting on the bridge looking quite helpless.

Lakya Bhadra view point near Lakya Dam in Kudremukh, Karnataka India, gorge.
The gorgeous gorge that we stopped to take a picture of.
Lakya Bhadra view point near Lakya Dam in Kudremukh, Karnataka India.

"We're not supposed to stop here, you know," complained Hansom as he climbed out of the car holding the food satchel. "And we're not supposed to feed them. It creates dependence."

"Fine, I'm only going to give them one or two bananas. It's their natural food. There's nothing to be worried about." I insisted, although feeling a bit nervous as mama monkey approached me with major gusto as baby monkey clutched her fur tightly.

In a flash, little knuckles appeared on the walls of the bridge, followed by  furry, pink faces as a whole host of monkeys pulled themselves up from under the bridge and onto the road. Before we knew what was happening, we were surrounded by a screaming bunch of them, rushing towards us. Two large male monkeys reached Hansom simultaneously and stood up on their hind legs quite menacingly. Hansom attempted to swat them off with the food bag and some curses. The monkeys were not happy with this lack of cooperation and definite show of disrespect. One of the large male monkeys grabbed Hansom's shorts and gave them a good tug. 

"Bloody hell," yelled Hansom bending over and making a grab for his shorts. While Hansom was trying to pull his shorts up, the other monkey had jumped on Hansom's back and wrestled off his satchel. Post haste they retreated with their trophy amid a volley of excited shrieks from the rest of the troupe, who quickly followed them in the hopes of getting a share of the spoils.

We watched helplessly as the monkeys went through our food satchel, quite impertinently right in front of us but just out of our reach on the bridge. The bananas were distributed. They then unwrapped my foil wrapped Banana Rum Bread and after tasting it, quickly flung down the bananas and proceeded to fight over my Banana Rum Bread instead.

"We've been had by a bunch of monkeys. These buggers have a racketeering ring going," said a slightly disheveled Hansom, raising his voice above the uproar. 

"That mother monkey used her baby as a distraction. And we fell for it," said Hansom feeling very violated.

"Oh, look," I replied with a happy sparkle in my eyes. "They just love my Banana Rum Bread."

Mother monkey holding baby monkey, Kudremukh, Karnataka, India, Kudremukh monkey, baby monkey
Moral of the story: Don't ever fall for this look.

Recipe : My Banana Rum Loaf- 
Monkey Tested

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Servings: 8 slices

Time: 25 minutes prep, 1 hour bake

Dry Ingredients:

☐ 2 cups (spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour (265g)
☐ 3/4 cup sugar (145g)
☐ 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
☐ 2/3 cup -mix of golden raisins and dark raisins
☐ 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Wet Ingredients:

☐ 3 very ripe bananas mashed (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
☐ 1/4 cup thick buttermilk or beaten yogurt
☐ 2 eggs, lightly beaten
☐ 1/3 cup canola oil
☐ 3 tablespoons dark rum
☐ 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Step-by- Step Instructions:

Step 1: Prep

  • Grease and lightly flour a 9x5 inch loaf tin. 
  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F and place rack in center of oven.
  • Soak raisins and nuts in rum, while you get everything else ready. An overnight soak would be even better.

Step 2: Mix wet ingredients together

In a bowl, combine the mashed bananas, buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla essence together.

Step 3: Combine dry ingredients

  • Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together into another large bowl. Add the sugar. 
  • Then add the soaked raisins and walnuts and toss in the flour mixture to coat the fruit and nuts. 
  • Pour any remaining rum into the bowl with the wet ingredients.

Step 4: Make batter

Using a rubber mixture, fold the wet banana mixture into the dry flour mixture until just combined.

Step 5: Bake

Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake at 350°F. Bake for 60 minutes.

To read about more of my food adventures with Hansom, check out:

-Wild Boar Chorizo Empanadas | A Masinagudi Shoot

-Blackened Tilapia Fish Tacos | Adventures in Puerto Rico

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