Vazha Koombu Thoran/ Banana Blossom Flower Stir Fry with Coconut

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This is one of the dish makes me nostalgic. In our home town, there is proverb that chakkum mangaum aru masam pinnae angine engine aru masam means with jackfruit and mangoes dishes for six months of the year and then rest of year of the made with veggies from here and there. In rural Kerala, southern part of India buying vegetables was not a common practice earlier, and made dishes for lunch/dinner from the veggies and trees planted in the backyard. Every house had a jackfruit tree, banana plant, mango tree, papaya plant, moringa tree etc. so you have to only need to venture into the backyard.
I think only onion, cauliflower, potato, carrot, etc are the veggies they buy from outside. When amma or appa visited their ancestral house, my grandma made curries with banana blossom flowers. In Kerala, they make curries with entire banana plant, whether it is a fruit or stem and flower. Here you can see banana blossom flowers in Asian market especially in HongKong Market. Nowadays I am not visiting there, last week when I saw them in the Indian store I decide to buy them. I like the stir fry with coconut.
Banana flowers are also commonly used as vegetables for cooking in countries such as Laos,Thailand, China, Burma, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam other than India. I think except in India and Sri Lanka they are consumed as salad. For salad preparation you need to soak them with lemon juice or vinegar and water to half hour. That will help to prevent discoloration as well as enhance the taste, most closely they taste like leeks.
Choose flowers that are firm with tightly packed leaves. Nutritional benefits of banana blossom flower includes that they are rich in dietary fibers, vitamins like C, E, and also helps to reduce the menstrual cramps and excessive bleeding, produce progesterone hormone which help in pregnancy as well during lactation. 
However you need get used to the taste of this banana blossom flower, it has a slightly bitter taste which can be masked by the coconut and some yogurt to some extent. I made this stir-fry just like my mom used to make. I love to taste them occasionally, but it is expensive, about 3.49 dollars for a single one, further preparing them for curry requires lots of time. Here goes the recipe

One year ago: Osmania biscuit an authentic short bread from India
Print recipe from here

What  You need

 Banana blossom flower: 1no
Onion: 2 tablespoon ( finely chopped)
Green chilies: 2 nos
Mustard seeds: ½ teaspoon
Urad dal: ½ tablespoon
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Turmeric: ¼ teaspoon
Salt: ½ teaspoon
Red chilies; 2 nos
Coconut: ½ cup
Cumin seeds: ½ teaspoon
Garlic clove: 1 no
Yogurt: 2 tablespoon
Coconut oil : 2 tablespoon
Water: 2 cup

How I made

Preparation of banana blossom flower: First apply some coconut oil to palm and rub, this step is needed to prevent sticky liquid oozing from banana blossom from sticking to hand. Remove the outer tougher covering (bracts) and discard, until you see a pale colored edible part which is called as Banana Blossom Heart. While peeling the outer covering you will see beneath every layer lays an orderly row of lithe, yellow-tipped fronds/florets. These are the little buds that eventually become bananas, don’t discard the florets. The mature florets will have non- edible parts like black stigma and transparent covering which needs removed before using them. No need to remove the stigma and transparent covering on the tender ones. Now chop this banana heart and florets into very fine pieces. Place these chopped pieces in a bowl containing butter milk (I used 2 tablespoon of yogurt in a bowl of water). This helps in preventing discoloration.

Heat rest of oil in a skillet and add mustard seeds and urad dal. When mustard starts to pop and splutter, add onion , green chilies and fry for about 3 minutes to this add drained chopped banana blossom flower and turmeric and salt close the lid and cook for about 10  minutes or until they are done. 
In the mean time grind coconut, cumin seeds, red chili and garlic into coarse paste. Add this paste to cooked banana blossom flower and mix everything and cook for another 2 minutes and switch off the flame and enjoy with rice and gravy.
Preparation time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 serving
Verdict: Yummy slightly bitter
Will you make it again: Yes  I will depending upon availability

I am linking this stir fry to Hearth and  Soul hop #59

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  1. says

    Recipe looks delicious..i used to make chutney with this Vardhini said we also used to fight to have this innermost part of this tender flower when we were kids.

  2. says

    We have lots of banana plants, and I did try this once, but perhaps my preparation lacked something? It was bitter, and I decided not worth the trouble, though I’m sure your results were delicious, especially considering the nostalgic factor.

  3. says

    Your banana flowers recipe brough back some childhood memories Swathi! My mom used to make an amazing Banana Flower chutney in curd… and also a dry sabzi with finely chopped flowers. Have no idea what the exact recipe was… but ur post has now inspired me to ask her and record those recipes :)

  4. says

    Hi Swathi! Came in here through the KAF site. Banana blossoms – been ages and ages since I ate this, my mother makes this sometimes. Sounds yumm!

    I tried to find the 100% whole wheat no knead bread on ur blog, could not find it. HELP! Been experimenting with this one, wanted to know how you made it..

  5. says

    I would love to be able to taste this. I’m quite sure that I can’t find banana blossoms in rural New Hampshire; but, I can dream about it. It looks fantastic!

  6. says

    Swathi, am linking your post for an upcoming one.
    Thank you for the pictures of cleaning the Banana flowers. Will update here.

  7. says

    i never liked before this curry.tday ive made it for the 1st is sooo tasty…from now on at least once in a week ill have it at lunch.thank u.