20
Oct
07

Arati Puvvu Koora

Happy Dussehra to all of you

Banana Flower Curry

ap_h.jpg

Growing up with a banana plant in the backyard makes me feel it as a common vegetable. Every year my dad used to plant at least 2-3 plants. We had all kinds of dishes made out of bananas, right from savories to deserts. Once the plant grows the first thing you notice is the flower pod, which may also be called banana blossom or banana heart ( Arati Puvvu in Telugu), grows on the end of the stem holding a cluster of bananas. Tender banana flowers are harvested and are relished in different ways either cooked or raw. Banana flower is considered as a delicacy by many South Indians.

ap.jpgThe flower pod is in deep cherry red color. It has layers of tightly packed flaps or bracts that wrap around rows of thin stemmed flowers, which are pale cream colored and has a grayish black stigma popping out. These male flowers are used in the cooking.

One thing for sure, cooking with banana flower starts with a very laborious cleaning process. Any well formed stigma that is hard has to be removed from each flower. Also there is a wafer thin covering around the flower, which is hard to cook and hence needs to be removed.

This is my mom’s recipe which is one of my favorites.

Ingredients

1 banana flower (medium)ap_l.jpg
1 red onion
1 medium tomato
2-3 green chilies
½- 1 tbsp tamarind paste/ pulp
½ tbsp jaggery (optional)
1/4th tsp turmeric
1 tsp minced ginger
Salt to taste

For seasoning
2 tbsp oil
2 dry red chilies (broken)
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of asafetida
Curry leaves (fistful)

Cleaning
As you remove each flap from the pod, it exposes a row of florets that look like a comb. Separate the cluster. Each flower instig_h.jpg the cluster will contain one hard and long stigma and a transparent covering. Discard the stigma and the transparent covering, leaving the other part of the flower. As you go down the pod, the stigma will no longer be hard and thick. You will also notice that the transparent covering is not more visible. When you reach this stage, you do not need to separate them anymore. Repeat the procedure until the layers of the pod can no longer be separated easily. You will see a pale creamy colored pod which looks like a conch. It has a slight bitter taste can be eaten raw or in salads. You can also add it to the dish, finely chopping then along with the florets. Now chop all the cleaned florets and immerse them in a big bowl of cold water. Clean them thoroughly at least 4 – 5 times. Using a drainer, drain the water, rest them for 10 mins. Now gently press and squeeze all the excess water from the chopped florets and keep aside.

Procedure

Heat the skillet/pan on medium heat along with oil. Add red chillies, urad dal, channa dal and fry them until starts changing the color (light golden brown). Now add cumin, mustard seeds, hing and allow then to pop. Add curry leaves, green chillies, onions and sauté until the onion changes to transparent color. Now add turmeric, chopped tomatoes, tamarind pulp, and jaggery and cook until the tomatoes becomes soft and mushy. Now stir in chopped banana florets and mix well. Turn the heat to medium-low, put the lid and cook. Keep stirring in the middle gently. Add salt mix well and cook for another 10 minutes or until done. Do not over mix it as it will break the florets and dish will become mushy. The moisture from tomatoes and banana florets are sufficient for them to cook.

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Serve it as a side dish along with hot rice and ghee (clarified butter).

Notes and Tips

It is advisable to apply little oil to your palms while separating the florets. The pod oozes sticky sap which is very tough to remove from your hands and clothes. Most often, this vegetable is available in Asian or tropical food markets and Indian stores.

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22 Responses to “Arati Puvvu Koora”


  1. October 20, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Hi Shivapriya,
    I like your new template. Happy Dusshera to you too.
    I love the fibrous texture of the banana flower. Got to make a trip to the Asian store soon..Nice presentation there

  2. October 20, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Happy Dasara SP! I have never cooked with this veggie but looks so delicious. Beautiful photo and great template too!:))

  3. October 20, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks Manjy, Happy Dusshera to you to . Chinese and Korean stores carry this vegetable.

    Thanks Asha, Happy Dusshera to you, Aravind and Kids. Give it a try, it tastes really good or else come to my place I will cook for you.:)

  4. October 21, 2007 at 1:29 am

    the template looks great :)! nice photos SP Happy dassera to you too !

  5. October 21, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Hello Shivapriya,
    Wow! thats a deliciuos looking curry.I dont get this here.This is my favourite too.Though the cleaning is laborious process its worth cooking right?
    Happy Dassera to u and your family.

  6. 6 TBC
    October 21, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    You have made it so well! Beautiful presentation too in the last pic.
    I once tried using banana blossom/flower but only managed to get the canned version. The outcome was an absolute disaster!

  7. October 21, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Happy Dasara, Shiva Priya! The koora is very inviting..the pictures are very cute.. :-)

  8. October 21, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Very beautifully presented Shivapriya. The last pic is gorgeous. I agree the cleaning is very tedious, in fact I am afraid to even try. great job

  9. October 21, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks Roopa, Wish you the same.

    Yes Madhuri, cleaning is tedious but its all worth. Happy Dasara to you too.

    TBC, You can try in a Chinese or International Markets, sometimes even mexican markets carry this. Do we really get canned ones here?? I have never seen it.

    Happy Dusshera CHandrika, Thanks for the compliment.

    Yes Sandeepa, Cleaning is lil tedious but its worth. Only the last few flaps are irritating to clean as it gets smaller and difficult to get hold of unwanted stuff.:)

  10. October 22, 2007 at 6:27 am

    Wow,looks delicious…Little new to me..thanx for sharing and happy dussehra!

  11. October 22, 2007 at 8:46 am

    wow Shivapriya…….u made me remind my childhood…My grandmother used to cook this delicious curry…and I haven’t tasted since but I still remember the distinct flavor of it…Keep it up girl…….Excellent dish and an equally excellent presentation :-)

  12. October 22, 2007 at 9:16 am

    The banana flower is good for health too!:)) WE can always do the cleaning while watching TV!:)) With practice it takes 15 minutes for 1 flower!I prepare with toordal. Should try with onion as per your recipe!:)) lovely pictures!:))

  13. October 22, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    very beautiful photos and lovely presentation!

  14. October 22, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks Raji, many South Indians prepare dishes out of this vegetable .

    Thanks, Do post ur grandmothers recipe if u can Sirisha.

    Even my mom make patholi/ parupu usilli with this one. We also make this with moong dal . And you are absolutely right with practice its really easy to clean. It takes me 15-20 mins:).

    Thanks Sharmi, how is lil on feeling?

  15. October 22, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    I love banana flower ..all time favt ….awesome it taste …Execellent presentation …

  16. October 23, 2007 at 11:15 am

    Lovely Photos Shivapriya. I once tried this aratipovvu but it was a disaster, may be I now can try referring to ur recipe. Loved the last photo where u presented the kura in banana poovu leaf.

  17. October 24, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks for the compliment Deepa.

    Thanks Padma, do lemme know when u try it. I hope my tips will help you.

  18. November 20, 2007 at 8:38 am

    hi shivapriya! I love plantain flower , its so good and tasty, my fil taught me how to prepare thoran with it:) …sadly iam not able to find any plantain flower in US , even in the indian grocery stores in my area in boston….I am still hunting for them though:) ….You have a lovely blog here:) interesting dishes to learn from your blog:)

  19. November 20, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Roopa, look for a Asian grocery stores (Chinese & Korean) around your area. They carry Banana flower all yr around. I buy my vegetables from Korean Grocery Store. Thanks for you sweet words, I’m glad you stopped by.

  20. 20 Anna
    February 18, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Hi,

    I love the taste of this curry and I have eaten this dish so many times in my in-laws house in India, but never knew how to prepare it by myself at home. I bought the banana flower today and I am going to make it for my husband Sriram and our son Kiran. Wish me luck :) Thanks for posting the recipe and I love the presentation of the dish.

    Anna

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