Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vazhaipoo Vadai - Banana Flower Fritters

Now that I'm here....where I didn't expect to be...I'm excited.
I love cooking, and look for interesting things to dish up and making everyday food interesting..... And so began my saga of raking food blogs to enliven and sustain various ventures in my kitchen.
My debut contribution will be banana flower fritters.
I've never had banana flowers in any form. I've bypassed the 'stuff' in markets and vegetable stalls, not because I chose to ignore it but because it never fell withing the radar of material I'd use. So why the change of heart?
We have plantain trees in our backyard and I'm attached to them since they seem to thrive with minimum fuss. The saplings were a gift and were planted when I was preparing to introduce my daughter to our world. I've been watching my DD and the trees grow and was thrilled when when I noticed that one of them was going to fruit. 
I watched and watched and watched. Green plantain leaves slowly unfurled to reveal a large burgundy coloured flower. The flower began to shed its petals (?) to reveal the fruit in miniature. My well meaning gardener, who wasn't aware that I would want a picture of the flower with its fruit on the tree for my soon-to-be-blog, brought me the flower and beamed with pride at having got the flower at the 'right' time. 
I proceeded to make the fritters. Why the fritters? Well having never had the flower, I felt it would be most easily appreciated in this form.


Vazhaipoo (Banana flower) - 1 medium size

Kadalai paruppu or Channa dal - 1/2 cup

Ulutham paruppu or Urad dal - 1/2 cup

Payatham paruppu or yellow Mung dal - 1/4 cup

Red chillies - 3 to 4 (more or less as you like it)

Salt -  1 1/4 tsp (vary according to taste)

Curry leaves - 8 to 10 leaves 

Buttermilk - 1 cup

Asafoetida - a generous pinch

Oil for deep frying.

Wash and then soak the dals in warm water.

Peel the burgundy petals to reveal the florets, which are red/pink initially and become white as to remove layer upon layer. And when you can peel no more, you will find the heart, which is also edible. The outer 4 to 5 layers of florets need some more attention. A long stalk with a flat white bulb at the tip and a 'plasticky' sheath need to be removed - these parts are inedible. As you keep peeling the flower, the burgundy petals become pale and then white and the florets become more tender. The tender florets can be used as they are. Chop the florets. Wash thoroughly in water and transfer to a bowl of buttermilk diluted in two cups of water.

The florets

The dals should have just soaked, grind with red chillies, curry leaves and salt. Try not to add any water and keep the batter coarse but cohesive.

Drain the buttermilk and squeeze the banana florets to remove excess fluid. Mix into batter and add the asafoetida.

Batter - ready to use

Heat oil in a wok. Drop a pea sized bit of batter, if it rises immediately, its hot enough to fry the fritters.

Take a lemon sized ball and flatten it slightly on the palm of your hand and gently slide it into the wok. Turn the fritters to fry evenly on both sides. When the fritters are a nice golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and collect in a dish lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Continue till you've used up all the batter.

Eat the vadai when its hot to appreciate it. I got 18 vadais, which kept disappearing as I made them. The fritters were delicious by themselves and if I were to choose an accompaniment I'd make a spicy tomato chutney/ dip.

There was one flip side to this endeavour, I couldn't appreciate the flavour of the flower (if it has any). I'm all set to making other dishes with this erstwhile neglected element in my kitchen as my trees bear fruit.

1 comment:

  1. இது எல்லாம் ok, யெப்பொ கணுல காட பொகிராஇ?