Banana blossoms right on your plate!! - Banana flower stir fry.
While Yahoo can work on clearing the mess they have at their hands, I had a challenge at my hands this weekend. My mother and I were shopping at our local farmers market and I chanced upon Banana flower (vazha poo). Back in the days when I was pregnant I was told to have lots of banana flower as it was supposed to be rich in fibre content. But none of the grocery stores in Orlando carried one. So seeing a whole rack of banana flowers in Atlanta got us excited .
How to select?
So here we are standing in front of this rack of banana flowers – rich magenta color. I look at it and know that they are good. But how do you know? What do you look for when selecting a banana flower? Here is what my mother has to say – The outer leaves have to be tightly overlapping each other, when you peel the leaves (make sure nobody is looking) the little flowers around the base on the inside need to be fresh. So armed with all this information I ransack the entire rack and pick one!!!
On the nutritional part, I checked the internet and though there is no mention about the fibre content – the flower is considered a very effective cure for menstrual disorders like painful menstruation and bleeding. It is also supposed to be a good lactating agent and maybe that is why our grandmothers recommend that we have it during the pregnancy period and after. It is also a good source for Vitamin A,C.
However eventhough the banana flower has all these nutritional values and is excellent for women, the flavor is a little starchy and bitter. Therefore it becomes a challenge when you have to convince your husband that though it does not increase his lactation, it tastes great!!!
The trick I believe is in the ingredients. Just like most of our Indian recipes, the banana flower dish can be concocted in a hundred different ways but some ingredients really tend to remove the bitterness and add flavor to the dish.
Here is one such recipe. Try it and let me know if your husbands fall for it!!!!
- Banana flower - 1
- Whole moong dal-1/2 cup
- Onion - 1 small
- Green chillies - 5 ( more /less according to ur taste)
- Shallot -1
- Garlic - 1
- Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
- Turmeric powder - a pinch
- Coconut grated - 1/2 cup
- Oil -1 tbs
- Curry leaves
- Remove the outside leaves (petals) until u get to the inside portion (cream edible portion) . Chop the edible portion finely . The chopped flower is in lumps because of the sticky fibrous material around it. To remove, apply a little coconut oil to your palm ,take a handful of chopped flower and rub to remove the lumps . Re-apply oil and repeat the procedure unitl you have removed all the lumps. Set it aside
- Wash and pressure cook the moong dal. keep it aside.
- Crush the shallot and garlic together using a stone morter & pestle. ( or u can crush it using the back of the knife)
- Heat the oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add dry red chillies, chopped onion, green chillies, curry leaves and saute till the onions are light brown in color. Add the prepared flower,crushed mixure ,cumin powder ,salt and turmeric powder . Cook it covered for 5 minutes in medium heat. Do not add any water. Add the cooked moongdal and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes until its completly dry.
- Generally the chopped banana flower is soaked in butter milk to remove the bitterness. However I feel that doing so will result in loosing some of the nutrients . Hence i would recommend using oil instead of buttermilk.