Whenever I used to visit our Sabziwala (Greengrocer) for fresh veggies, I’d see a maroon colored ‘fruit’ in one of his vegetable baskets. I had never seen or heard about such fruit being used in any of Indian curries, so I pretty much neglected it for a long period.
Later, I discovered that it’s nothing but a flower of Banana plant, which is also known as Kelphul and Vazhaipoo in different regions of India.
Since then, I tried to find out some traditional Banana flower recipes and landed on many delicious variations from across the country.
Unfortunately, these recipes have never made it to popular restaurant culture. The unfamiliar taste and time required to clean Banana flowers are probably the biggest roadblocks in their path.
However, you can definitely make these healthy recipes at home and there is no one to stop you here.
So, let’s learn to make a special Maharashtrian version of stir-fried Banana flower recipe.
How to clean Banana flower?
You won’t find many Indian recipes in which the cleaning or preparation is more difficult than actual cooking process. This is one of those recipes where you’ll need to put some extra efforts.
Let’s see what needs to be done to clean this flower –
- Wash the blossom thoroughly with water.
- Remove the outer maroon colored petals as well as tiny yellowish flowers separately. As you start removing these petals, you will get to see white petals and tender flowers. Get them out as much as you can.
- Once you’ve removed them, get one flower in your fingers and take off the small black stalk and transparent skin from it.
- Similarly, follow the step 3 for remaining flowers.
- Now, chop the white stalk and flowers finely. Put them into salt water or buttermilk. It will help get rid of sticky starch-like substance. Let them be in water for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Rinse the useful parts again so that excess salt goes away.
As you can see, the cleaning process is a bit tricky one for such simple recipe, but it’s worth all the efforts. Check the recipe below.
Serves – 4 people
- Banana Flower – 1, medium sized
- Chana Dal – 2 tablespoon, soaked in water for 30 minutes
- Grated Coconut – 1 tablespoon
- Mustard Seeds – 2 teaspoon
- Jaggery – 1-2 teaspoon
- Turmeric Powder – 1/3 teaspoon
- Malvani Masala Powder – 1 teaspoon
- Asafoetida – 1/4 teaspoon
- Curry Leaves/ Kadi Patta – 8-10 nos.
- Coriander Leaves – 2 teaspoon, finely chopped
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt to taste
1. Heat the pressure cooker and steam Banana flower pieces and chana dal till 3 whistles.
2. Take it out from the cooker, drain water and keep aside.
3. Heat some oil in a heavy bottom pan on medium flame.
4. Once the oil turns hot, add the mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Wait till they splutter.
5. Add the turmeric powder, Malvani masala powder and jaggery. Stir it for a minute.
Note – You can replace Malvani masala powder with Red Chilli Powder and Garam Masala Powder. Use them in appropriate quantity.
6. Now, add the steamed Banana flower pieces and chana dal in it.
7. Mix well and cook for 6-7 minutes. Switch off the flame when you’re done.
You can garnish this dish with fresh grated coconut and coriander leaves. Serve it with hot Chapati and Coconut chutney.
Variations for Banana Flower Recipe
In the above recipe, I have tried to keep it as simple as possible. This means that there is plenty of room for you to experiment with ingredients and cooking styles.
Here are a couple of interesting twists that you can add in this recipe –
Banana Flower Tikki –
Don’t be surprised! You can make tikkis with Banana flower.
Here’s how to do it –
- Prepare your Banana flower vegetable dish as shown above.
- Mix boiled potatoes, cornflour and all purpose flour in it.
- Mash well, make the tikkis and shallow fry them in oil.
Isn’t it simple?
I’m sure you will love to try this variation. In case you want it more spicy, add some chopped green chillies into the mixture. It should do the job for you.
Dried Shrimp –
For non-veg. lovers, I’d suggest you to try making this recipe with dried shrimp. It will bring nice taste to the dish.
Quick preparation steps –
- Wash and soak the dried prawns for 15 minutes.
- When you add chopped Banana flower pieces in the above recipe, add the soaked shrimps as well.
- Now, follow the rest of recipe as mentioned.
That’s it! You don’t have to include any other ingredient to enhance the flavor of your dish.
Banana flowers are a rich source of vitamins that are essential for our overall health.
It may not have a really exotic taste and flavor, but its health benefits surpass everything. You just can’t neglect them at all. So, I think you should certainly include this vegetable dish in your lunch meals.
Over to you –
What do you think about this recipe? Would you like to try it at home?
Do let me know in the comments below.