Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Banana Flower Thoran


A lot of things have kept me busy over the past few weeks. After a wonderful vacation to Coorg and Mysore, I returned home tired but happy that the first couple of days of the new year was spent traveling and enjoying places, food, and the company of some wonderful people. Unfortunately, most of the things that kept me busy after returning, and in the last two weeks, happened to deal with sickness - first me, then Amma, and then A. When the new year begins on a 'sick' note, you start feeling apprehensive and do not feel like doing much, not to mention blogging! Now that things are gradually getting back to normal, I wanted to post something different from the usual vegetables that I cook. Before I go on, let me wish all my blogger friends and readers a very Happy New Year 2009, and belated Happy Pongal/ Sankranthi.

The Banana Flower (also called Banana Blossom) or 'Vaazha Koombu' as I know it, can be used to make curries. As a child, I never liked it, but as I grew up I realized it is very healthy and is considered to have medicinal properties in Ayurveda. Amma always made Koombu Thoran (a dry curry) from the blossoms in our garden, and after moving to the city, I buy this vegetable whenever I find it in the market.

To make the Banana Flower Thoran seen in the picture below, you will need:


Banana Flower/ Vaazha Koombu - 1
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Red Chillies - 3-4 depending on taste
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Raw rice - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cury leaves - 1 strand
Oil - 1-2 tbsp
Salt - to taste


Method:

  • Peel the top layer 'petals' on the flower, remove the flowers seen inside, and chop them separately
  • Start chopping the vegetable into thin shreds from the narrow edge
  • Once the entire vegetable is chopped, rinse it in a bowl with turmeric and salt, and drain the water as much as possible (This is done in order that the vegetable does not oxidise and turn black immediately, and also to remove the sticky texture)
  • Heat a large flat pan, and cook the vegetable on low flame keeping it covered
  • Stir in between after adding salt, and mix in the grated coconut when the vegetable is fully cooked
  • Heat oil in a tadka pan, add rice and mix well until goden brown, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chillies
  • Season the dish with this, and mix well while on low flame


Note: Cutting the banana flower can sometimes be messy, so you can try chopping cross-sections first through the entire length of the flower and then cutting into thin shreds. Add red chilly powder if the taste of the red chillies is not 'hot' enough.

Serve hot with rice/ chapathi

33 comments:

Nags said...

This is one of those simple Kerala dishes that I miss terribly. I preferred this to vazha pindi thoran but I would kill for a bowl of atleast that now :) I have never prepared this myself cuz the initial process of getting the flowers ready takes time. Do you remove the black thing in the florets? My mom used to, saying otherwise the dish tastes bitter.

Shreya said...

Hi Nags, even vazha pindi thoran is tasty! Regarding the florets, if you see black stamen in them, it is better to remove. This indicates that the blossom is not very fresh, especially if all the florets have black stamen. Usually freshly plucked blossoms will have fresh white florets inside the petals, which can be chopped and added to the thoran. I think you should be able to find this in Mustafa or the Kerala store.

Priti said...

Looks yum...though I have never made this...very rare in our house...love your presentation

sowmya said...

yes you do get banana flower in many places in singapore..even the thai shops and wet markets..
Nice thoran recipe..i made usli and wadai with this once

notyet100 said...

HAVE SEEN THS BEFRE WHILE BLGHOPPIN,..TOTALLY NEWFOR ME,..LOKS DELICIS,..NDYA,...I AM SO GLAD UR BACK,..HPY BLOGGIN,..;-)

Simran said...

Welcome back! Hope things are back on track now.

I see banana flower in markets all the time but have never cooked will it. Your recipe looks interesting, will give it a shot.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A very interesting dish! It looks delicious! I'll have to test banana flowers...

Cheers,

Rosa

Sharmila said...

Banana flower is made at home regularly .. I have never tried just because I don't know how to pick through the stems .. some parts are not supposed to be eaten. Your dish looks great. :-)

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

hey, nice to see ur comments after a long time. banana stem flower thoran looks great. i love it.. but difficult to peel each and every stem right? but it's all worth the effort.

Nithya Praveen said...

Wow...i miss eating these here.It needs a lot of patience to work on the flowers.We call this "podimaas" in tamil,Yummy n tempting!

Cris said...

Oh and I had never heard of it, it looks delicious, glad you shows us so many typical dishes!

sra said...

have eaten this just a couple of times, I think. I'm told it takes a lot of practice to get it right.

Suma Rajesh said...

my fav..but i hte to chop that...only becuse of that i avoid all the time..hehe

Dershana said...

I love this simple, healthy thoran. Love the version where we add some cherupayar in too.

Cham said...

I made last week this banana blossom, little hard work but absolutely pay off. My mom does the same way

Gita's Kitchen said...

I have thasted this thoran during college from my friends lunchbox though I never tried making it...thanks for sharing the recipe :)

Usha said...

Welcome back...the thoran looks delicious...my mil makes this, I haven't attempted this because of all the work involved in it :-)

kamala said...

Thank you for visiting my blog Shreya..I love banana flower ...Looks so yumm

SMN said...

this is one of the dishes i miss here. wont get the fresh ones.

Sunshinemom said...

My husband does all the messy work and makes the subzi Maharashtrian style. I haven't tasted this but am really curious because the addition of raw rice to a thoran is really intriguing! Wish I could taste this! I like vazhaipoo and thandu too!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

It's amazing the thing I learn whenever I come here! This is so interesting!

Jaya said...

Shreya,
boiling of chopped flowers help to reduce the bitterness also ..
thoran reminds me of,our way of making "Mochar ghonto" , but with little mmore spices and potatoes...
this looks delicious ..
hugs and smiles

Laavanya said...

I've grown to like this too and esp. love the vadai my mom makes with this and paruppu usli.

sagari9 said...

never tried banana flower , looks yummmmmyy

Vaishali said...

Dear Shreya, Sorry to hear you were sick, but also glad you're feeling better now. A very happy pongal to you.
I have long wanted to make banana flower subzi, because I sometimes see it here at the Asian grocery store, but never had an idea how to do it. Desi, my husband, loves it from when his mom used to cook it for him, and often talks about it.
Thanks for the recipe, and you can be sure I'll try it. It sounds and looks delicious.

Yasmeen said...

Healthy Banana flowers ,sometimes we get here too.Eating such nutritious food does make one better after an episode of sickness.Hope you had a happy sankranti.

Varsha Vipins said...

My husband loves this..Its really healthy indeed..:)

SPICE OF LIFE said...

i love banana flower thoran ... I had it a couple of times in India ...but am yet to try it at home ... now that i have the recipe ... maybe I will try it :)

william said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first

comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep

visiting this blog very often.


Alessandra

http://www.craigslistpostingonline.info

International Flower Delivery said...

umm i don't think i can eat that. how does it taste?

Prince said...

We want more varieties from banana flower bud.

Vaava said...

Hi
you should use boiled rice instead of raw rice to do tadka. Only boiled rice gets fried unlike raw rice.
my mom uses boiled rice.

Shreya said...

Hi Vaava, thanks for the info. My mother has been using raw rice for this, and also the Muringa Ila thoran or Cheera thoran etc in which the same tempering method is used. I guess the key is to wait until the rice is fried. Shreya