Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vazhapoo Poriyal (Banana blosom curry)

Vazhapoo is banana blosom and is said to be very good for the stomach. Typically there is only one blosom/flower per plantain tree. After there is a blosom it is let to mature and eventually the tree bears plantains/bananas. Once the fruits are ripe, the whole tree is cut off because it does not yield anymore fruit or flower and by this time there would be a small plantain sapling just beneath the mama tree. So also to let the sapling grow the mama is felled indicating the emerge of a new generation.

Incidentally thats why we adorn both sides of marriage halls to indicate that the couple should flourish like the plantain tree and raise young ones for generations to come.

We had lots of Plantain trees back home. Whenever the tree is cut up, all parts of the tree is used up. The tender stem of the tree, called vazhathandu, the remaining of the blosom are used for cooking while the leaves are used to serve food.
Here in Bay area its rare that we see banana blosom and I have never seen the stems ( vazha thandu ). Found a blosom and here is the curry. The tricky part is removing the stamen. Yes its very time consuming to remove the stamen and the nimble outer sheath of every floret.

Floret with and without the stamen
and sheath
- One banana blosom cleaned as above and finely chopped
- one onion roughly chopped
- For seasoning - one teaspoon each of mustard, cumin, curry leaves
- Two red chillies ( increase if you like it hot )
- one tablespoon shredded coconut
1. Heat oil in a pan and season. Add chillies and onion
2. When the onion is translucent add the chopped blosom florets and saute for a few minutes.
3. Add salt and very little water and close with a lid. Allow it to cook for 15 to 20 mins
4. when all the water is drained up add the shredded coconut and enjoy over rice.
This curry will be slightly bitter - more the bitterness the better for health is what my mom used to tell to make me eat this :)



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