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
- 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