Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Banana Flower and Lentil Gravy (Vazhai Poo Kootu)

Banana Flower (Vazhai Poo in Tamil)

This is a vegetable ignored by so many, simply because it is laborious! Wow, I used the word Laborious! Hmm, when ever I buy this, and make a kootu or a curry with this, I hear these comments
"Oh Who has the patience to cut this?"
"I don't have the time to cut this"
I do agree that this vegetable takes a little more time to prepare than others, but that is simply no reason to shun this awesome vegetable. And also while you might have had a taste of this in Inida, then you have to make it for your kids too. This is available in most of the korean store called HMart or in your local farmers market.

Method of cutting a Banana flower
Pluck this whole bunch with your right hand and rub on your left palm (or the other way round if you are a left hand)
The thief is the one which is taller than others, pull that one out.
--->First you have to take all the flowers from it.

--->You have to take the thief (Kallan in Tamil) out of each of the flower.

--->If you just take the bunch of flowers with your right hand and rub it on the keft palm, the tips will open a little and you will be able to fish the theif out.

--->This is imperative, because, if you are lazy and don't take him out, it will spoil your wonderful creation by giving it an odd taste. The thief will look different from the others and you will be able to identify it.

--->Also you dont have to go all the way, once the outside of the banana flower is completely white, you can cut the whole thing up and add it in what ever you are making. In the picture first I have taken out all the flowers and in the next picture, the thieves have been removed and is ready for chopping.

You can do this over the weekend, to store put in a vessel, and fill water and add 3 tablspoons of buttermilk, or Milk and then add the chopped Banana flower. This stays good for atleast a week, in my fridge, I usually finish it by then.

I hope I have given clear instructions :)
There are a lot of ways to prepare this, here I have made Poricha Kootu
Poricha Kootu is nothing but Lentils mixed with any vegetable of your choice, but with a powdered seasoning of well roasted (Urad Dal+Red Chili + Black Pepper+ Cumin) .

You can create your own mixture to this and have many different variations. Coconut is an optional add in to the above.
So the Items you need to make it
Cut Banana Flower -- 1 medium sized banana flower
Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) - 1 Cup
Mung Dal (Split)- 1/3 Cup
Water - 3 Cups
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Teaspoon
Salt - 1 ad 1/2 Teaspoon
Oil - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Curry Leaves and Coriander Leaves
Red Chili - 1
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
For the seasoning
Urad Dal - 1 and 1/2 Teaspoons
Cumin - 2 Teaspoons
Black Peper - 1/2 teaspoons
Red chili - 2 (more or less depending on your spice level)
Grated Coconut - 1 handful (Optional)
Roast the above with a teaspoon of oil till it becomes light red and make a fine powder
---> Start by add the water to the pan you are going to use.
---> Add the salt and Turmeric powder
---> Wash the dals once and add them to the pan
---> Once the dals are close to half cooked, add the chopped Banana Flower
---> Once the Banana flower and the dal is cooked, add the seasoning.
---> Take 1/2 teaspoon oil, and when the oil starts to get hot, add the mustard seeds and let it sputter, add one red chili and some curry leaves to this and pour over your Creation!


Sagari said...

beautifull pics

Cilantro said...

I love the kootu . Time consuming procedure but well worth the time. Good for health too.

Anonymous said...

Thief?... sry, I don't get it... can u pls explain it in detail?... which part of the flower or which flower is called thief here?...

notyet100 said...


Cynthia said...

You know I never knew that one could be the flower of the banana tree. I love making these discoveries.

DK said...

I luv this...I hardly get a good vazhaipoo around here! ur photos made me nostalgic abt my mom :)

Uma said...

Wow, you did a fantastic kootu with banana flower. looks delicious. I know it tastes great even with all that work in cutting it. Great recipe Vandana!

Arundathi said...

i actually love vazhai poo - i make it spicy with chillies and onions - its so healthy and delicious!

Vandana said...

Thanks, Sagari, Cilantro, Notyet100,Cynthia, dk, Uma, Arundathi!
I am going to upload another picture with more dtails on how to cut this flower!

ranji said...

this is a lovely post!!!good detailed escription...the curry looks delicious!!

Suganya said...

It is laborious. But normally I watch a movie while I am preparing it. Doesn't feel like a lot of work then.