|Banana Flowers in Red Bracts|
Banana flower-head, appearing in the Indian Groceries during this season. Prompted by a recent visit to India and the opportunity to sample Bengali cuisine which included, Banana Flower cutlets, we picked up a 'banana flower head/ Vazha Khumbu'. The opportunity to sample a traditional Bengali spread was at Kolkata's Bhojohari Manna.
|Bhojohari Manna in Salt Lake: Served in banana-leaf -lined plates and dish of Shatkora slices ( Citrus Macroptera) and green chillies, seating at the Salt Lake location.|
|Deceptive Looks: Banana Flower Cutlet with|
a garnish of fried potato flakes.
The visit came through in a quintessentially Bengali way, with warmth and splashes of humour. We were urged to visit, a call was put through, assurances received that it being a 'working day' a table would be free and suggestions for ordering were given. All of us at the table were novices, but it ended up appealing to different palates. For friend's the mustard spicing was a hit! Each dish was unique and it was worth every rupee and more! We stopped at 2 tiny clay pots of this divine, mousse-like ice-cream with the gur paste at the bottom. Sharing it in tiny spoonfuls, it was perfect and left us wanting more.
Vazhapoo Vada / Banana Flower and Channa Dal Vadas
Yields: Approximately 20 nos
|Coarsely ground Split Bengal Gram, Vada mix, Ma's recipe|
Here is a very helpful post by a very talented and amazing fellow blogger, Swathy of Zesty South Indian Kitchen. It shows you how to 'prepare' the flowers.
Put vegetable oil in your handsPeel off the red bracts/covering
Each layer will have rows of yellow-tipped flowers
Remove the stem inside
Take the prepared flowers and rinse them
Finely chop the flowers
*Important: To remove the serum:
Soak the finely chopped banana flowers in a bowl of water with 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
Soak in buttermilk: In a bowl dilute 1/4 Cup of buttermilk with one cup of water
After 1/2 hour to one hour, squeeze out the chopped banana leaves. Rinsing out the buttermilk is optional.
Cook with salt and turmeric powder and just enough water.
1/2 Cup dried channa dal/Split Bengal Gram soaked for a minimum of half to one hour.
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder ( optional )
1/4 tsp Fennel seeds / Saunf/ Perunjeerakam
4 Green Chillies, finely chopped ( according to preference)
1 tsp finely chopped Ginger
1/2 Cup Red Onions, finely chopped
1 stem Curry Leaves, torn rough or finely chopped
2 tbsps Coriander leaves, finely chopped ( optional)
Vegetable Oil for Deep Frying
- Coarsely grind the channa dal
- Season with salt, red chilli powder and pepper powder
- Add the cooked banana flowers, finely chopped green chillies, finely choipped ginger, finely chopped onions, fennel seeds, chopped curry leaves and chopped coriander.
- Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan
- Take approximately 2 tbsps of the mix and flatten into a disc.
- Deep fry until golden brown; yeilds approximately 20 Vadas
- Drain on paper towels
- Serve hot.