-Submitted by Eliza
(Banana Blossom with Lentils, Valaipoo Usili)
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Banana flower, also known as Banana Blossom is a vegetable that is consumed in rural villages in many different ways. In cities people do not buy these due to its hectic cleaning process. This vegetable is known for its many benefits like reducing blood sugar, increasing blood hemoglobin and reduces depression. It is also said to increase milk supply in nursing mothers and reduce bleeding. I have given detailed instructions on how to clean and prepare banana flower for cooking. It takes a good half an hour to clean 1 flower. So I suggest you to do it while watching television or while having a chit chat with family members.
I love the taste of banana flower. There are many people who do not enjoy its slightly bitter taste. This vaazhaipoo usili is made with a combination of roasted lentils which is a great option to mask this bitter taste of the banana blossom. So be sure to try this on a weekend for lunch when you have some extra time to spare to make a delicious meal.
Recipe For Vazhaipoo Usili
Preparation time: 1 hour (including soaking time)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- Plantain flower - 1 medium size
- Channa dal (Kadalai Paruppu, Bengal Gram Dal) - 1/4 cup
- Tur dal (Tuvaram Paruppu, Red Lentils) - 1/4 cup
- Dried Red chilies - 2 or 3
- Green chili - 1
- Turmeric powder - a pinch
- Asafoetida (Hing, Perungayam) - 1/4 tsp
- Salt - to taste
For The Seasoning
- Oil - 2 tsp
- Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
- Curry leaves - 1 spring
- Wash and soak both the dals for at least half an hour. While the dals are soaking, you can clean the banana flower. You can even do this cleaning on the previous day itself.
- Chop the banana florets finely. Keep the chopped banana flower in water with some yogurt to prevent it from getting discolored.
- Grind the soaked dal coarsely along with green chili, red chilies, asafoetida and salt. If you like the taste of fennel seeds, add 1 tsp of that along with the dal while grinding.
- Cook the chopped banana flower with little water and salt in a pot. You can also microwave it or steam it. It cooks pretty fast.
- Simultaneously, take small portions of the ground dal mixture in idli plates (or any vessel) and steam it for about 15 minutes.
- After it is cooled so that its comfortable to handle, crumble the cooked lentil balls with your hands. Alternatively, just pulse it in the food processor or mixie till it gets crumbled.
- Heat oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
- Add the crumbled dal mixture and roast it for a few minutes.
- Add the cooked banana flower and toss everything together.
- Check for salt and switch off.
- Since this vazhaipoo usili has lentils, it goes well with white rice and some non dal curry like mor curry, rasam or puli kulambu.
- It can also be used as a side for chapattis.
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