Monday, June 10, 2013

Vazhaipoo vadai

In my childhood days I've heard in songs and read in books that the banana tree is a great example for sacrifice as every part of it is consumed by humans. I would sometimes wonder if it is the tree's sacrificial nature to give out everything or the humans' selfish nature to get as much as we can. Philosophies apart, since the banana tree has a use in every bit of it, every house which has a garden space would have a banana tree. Even if it doesn't yield fruits, we can always use its leaves for serving or packing food, or use the trunk and flower in cooking. I remember  growing a banana tree in our house and waiting for it to yield fruits which seemed like a lifetime. I also remember the size of the fruits were nowhere near to the size of the smallest variety of banana. But the taste of something grown in our own garden is definitely better than the best of what we get in stores. Now...why I am I telling this story? just to explain the fact that the banana flower is edible. It is made as a dry curry as such (poriyal) or with dal (paruppu usili),  or as fritters (vadai). My mom once made this vadai and ever since I am a big fan of this vazhaipoo vadai (but I always wonder why it was purple). The toughest part in this recipe is cleaning the flower. Once you have done cleaning you can make the fritters in no time. You could also clean up the flowers ahead of time, but the flowers starts to darken if not cooked immediately. But they are still edible and doesn't affect the taste or texture of the vadai. The center portion of the flower is also edible and can be eaten raw or cooked,

Things you'll need:
Banana flower (Vazhaipoo) - 1
Channa dal - 1 cup, soaked for 2 hours
Onion - 1, big, Finely chopped
Garlic - 3 pods, minced
Curry leaves - 3 or 4, chopped
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 2, minced
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as required
Coriander leaves - 3 or 4 springs, finely chopped
Oil - for deep frying

Yield - 15 - 20 pieces


Step 1:
Remove each petal of the flower and collect the small flowers inside. Remove the thin membrane and thick stamen in each small flower. When you have removed as many of the flowers (you could leave the smallest flowers toward the end), chop the flowers and soak them in water with a little turmeric powder until you get the vadai mixture ready.

Step 2:
Coarsely  grind the channa dal, add the rest of the ingredients  and mix well. Squeeze the water out of the banana flowers and add them to the vadai mixture and mix well.

Step 3:
Make small balls of the vadai mixture and flatten them to discs. Deep fry them in medium heat and serve hot with sauce or chutney.

Sending it to Vardhini's Dish it out event