The entire banana plant: the shoot,leaves, fruits, flower are used for cooking. The plant will fruit only once, after bearing the fruit, the plant will be cut and every part will be used for cooking and eating. The huge leaves are used as serving plates (organic plates) or cooked with fish/vegetables to create steamed delicacies. The fibrous threads that could be pulled out of the shoot is used to make flower garlands in India.
Always look for firm varieties and wrap them tight in a plastic foil until use, to retain the freshness. First wash the flower under running tap water. The cleaning will stain the hands, so use a kitchen gloves or apply cooking oil before doing this. This will prevent the sticky sap sticking to your hand and that leaves nasty black colour for few days. The cooking preparation begins with removing the bitter sap from the redbracts, which is definitely a tedious process. Remove all the red outer covering until you reach an ivory colored bulb called Banana Blossom Heart. First remove the outer manganta outer layer, pull out the tender yellow tipped florets. As you remove, store them in water. A black stigma and transparent covering which will taste bitter needs to be pulled out before chopping. Chop off the florets and white bulb to smaller pieces and place them in water. This helps in preventing discoloration.
1 tbsp vegetable oil/olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp chana dhal
1 tbsp urad dhal
1-2 dry red Chilli, halved
A Pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
5-8 curry Leaves
1 Banana flower
1 large red onion, diced
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
¼ cup grated unsweetened coconut, fresh/frozen
Salt to taste
1. Boil water in a cooking pan. Add the banana flower to a boiling water pot and cook for 10 minutes, until they are soft and done. Drain the water through a colander and squeeze with the hand to remove any excess water. Set them aside.
2.Heat oil in a cooking pan and once the oil ripples, add mustard seeds to it. Let it pop, add channa dal, urad dal and halved red chillies. Now add asafoetida and curry leaves and mix well, approximately 30 seconds.
3. Mix in finely chopped onion and saute on a medium flame till they turn light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add turmeric and mix well.
4. Add the cooked banana flower to the pan. Stir fry for 2 minutes at medium flame till they are mixed well with the spices.
5. Add salt to taste and sprinkle grated coconut on top and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
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