Every part or almost every part except may be the root of the banana plant is used in cooking or serving a meal.From what I have seen and known, coconut tree and banana plant are the complete package for their many uses.
The stem of the banana plant is used to make poriyal,kootu and as we learned from one of the marathoners juice too.The leaf of the plant is used as a plate to serve food and as a steamer for idlis.The fruit is ofcourse the versatile banana which is used in many preparations either raw, ripe or inbetween.The flower of the banana plant is also used in preparation such as vazhaipoo vadai,usili and kootu.
Vazhaipoo has the thuvarppu taste (astringent).Only way I can come near to describing it is after eating it the tongue still feels the raw texture.It is quite unique and tastes good.
Today, my friend and neighbor is moving with her family to another state: (.My whole family is going to miss them.My friend had come over to help me prepare the banana flowers, even in the midst of her packing.Good friends are rare to come by, although they are still going to be friends after they move away, it is not like being right near you.I'll remember the chats and fun we had together. I would like to wish my other dear friend who is celebrating her birthday today, Happy Birthday Priya!: )
I chose Vazhaipoo Kootu as Recipe #2 for the 7 day countdown recipe marathon to New Year 2010 by Nupur of One Hot Stove.This recipe is from my mom.
Recipe #2: Vazhaipoo Kootu
Vazhaipoo (remove the white inner flowers in between the red petals
Also,remove from each inner flower,the one stiff stamen ) 1
sambar powder 1 tsp
cooked tuvar dal 1/4 cup
turmeric powder 1/2tsp
salt as needed
tamarind paste 1/2 tsp
jaggery (crushed) 1 tsp
red chillies 2
coconut flakes 3 tbsp
cumin/jeera 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
urad dal 1 tsp
curry leaves a few
oil 1 tsp
asafoetida 1/4 tsp
roasted coconut flakes 1 tbsp
1.Take a bowl with a little tamarind water.Cut the white inner florets of the banana flower finely ,directly put it in the bowl to stop it from blackening.
2.When completed ,use a fine sieve to remove all the tamarind water.In a kadai, take just enough water to immerse the cut florets.Add turmeric powder,salt and bring it to boil. Then ,add sambar powder and let it simmer for 5 minutes with a lid on.
3.Grind 3 tbsp coconut flakes,cumin and red chillies with a little water to a smooth paste and add to the simmering florets.Add cooked tuvar dal now.Let it cook together simmer again for 2 minutes.
4.Heat a little oil.Add the tepering ingredients after the mustard sputters.When the coconut flakes are fried add tempering to the kootu.Add jaggery,stir and take off heat.Kootu is ready.
Whenever I make this kootu, I like to use the red petals to serve thayir sadam or curd rice like my paati used to do.There is an unique fragrance to the curd rice eaten that way.Along with molaga mangai, it is a simple pleasure.Susvaad.