Banana Sheera

Banana Sheera, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Before reviewing Sira des Indes, I figured I should try the dessert it was inspired by. So I searched for a few recipes online and found this one. I think now I can see the connection, as well as the choice of banana, cardamom and indolic notes combined in the perfume. Bananas cooked in milk and semolina and spiced with cardamom has a flavour that is like no other - rich, warm, full bodied, exotic. The saffron garnish though is what adds the extra floral/medicinal/indolic/animalic touch. Now I can smell the connection... Plus it was a fabulous way to start the day - with a rich and fruity semolina dessert!

Banana Sheera Recipe*
1 cup Semoline (Cream of Wheat)
¾ Cup Golden Sugar
½ Cup Ghee or melted unsalted butter
1-1/4 Cup Milk, warmed
2 Bananas, mashed
½-1 tsp freshly rushed green cardamom
Salt to taste
1 handful of raisings, soaked for 10 mintues in boiling water (or soaked in room temperature for 2 hours)
2-3 Tbsp. Sliced almonds or cashews (keep some for garnishing)
Pinch of Saffron for garnish

1. Melt the ghee in a small sauce pan, heat for about 5minutes
2. Add the semolina and fry until golden brown and fragrant
3. Add sliced nuts
4. Add 1 cup of warm milk (keep the rest for the mashed bananas)
5. Stir to avoid chunks from forming in the semolina.
6. Once the pudding becomes thicker, add the sugar and
7. Mash the bananas and mix with the remaining warm milk
8. Pour banans and milk to the pudding.
9. Drain the raisins and add them to the pudding.
9. Let cook for about 6-8 minutes over medium heat.
9. Serve hot in small dessert bowls, and garnish with saffron, crushed cardamom and sliced nuts.

*Adopted from Chimbori.com

Here are links to other recipes (larger quantities) for banana sheera:
Napa Valley
Recipe Bazaar

BBC Food Recipes

Sira des Indes

Pear, originally uploaded by Abbey Wuthrich.

The latest from Patou, Sira des Indes, signifies the hope of the return of classic perfumery in at least some of its glory. Despite the rundown of notes for Sira des Indes, which seems quite conformist and girly in an “I’ve Smelled This Fruity Floral Before” way, it is not.

Well, let me back off a little by saying that there is something familiar about it; familiar in a good way. First of all there is the familiarity of cooked fruit – primarily banana and pear. I can’t say I am noticing any berries and the bergamot is very muted as well. The cardamom, on the other hand, is there to complement the banana in a warm, seductive way, much as it does so in the dessert that inspired this perfume.

Than, there is also something classic about it. Perhaps I am reminded of the indolic jasmine of Joy, of seductively cloying narcissus as in Narcisse Noir and Vol de Nuit. There is also some champaca, and in this context it is a continuation of the banana-semolina pudding: fruity, warm, sensual and soft, with rare glimpse of magnolia peachiness. As I mentioned earlier, champaca is a very rare note to find in Western perfumery, and especially a French perfume. There is not a lot of it here (not as much as in Aftelier’s Tango or Ormonde Jayne’s Champaca), but there is enough to notice and make this stand apart.

Perhaps the familiarity and the feeling of return of classic perfumery is due to the well cushioned structure – no-nonesense base notes, creamy, rich and full-bodied of powdery yet sweet amber and musk, with sandalwood and vanilla in quantities that won’t embarrass Guerlain’s Samsara. The final drydown, by the way, is very similar on my skin to a cross between Samsara and Shalimar.

Meped, originally uploaded by Farl.

Like most “Orientals” made by Westerners, Sira des Indes brings a hint of the flavours to us in the West rather than abduct us on the Orient Express to the source (only very few “Western” perfumes do it in my opinion, such as some of Serge Lutens and Montale’s). Nevertheless, it’s a fresh, reviving scent that gestures to the past, winks at the Orient, and looks forward with a promise of dignity.

Top notes: Bergamot, Banana, Pear, Pink Berries, Cardamom
Heart notes: Red Champaca, Jasmine, Narcissus, Ylang-ylang
Base notes: Musk, Amber, Vanilla, Sandalwood.

If you are interested in reading other reviews of the same fragrance, visit:
Bois de Jasmine
Now Smell This
Victoria's Own

Back to the top