Plantain stir fry from the pongal party

Plantains are the raw version of bananas (ripe and yellow ones). They are greener, much firmer and low in sugar. Plantains need to be cooked before eating and they are hard to peel. You can steam, deep dry, saute, bake them. 1 cup of raw plantain has 181 calories and rich source of dietary fiber, potassium, Vitamin A and C. Plantain has good amount of carbohydrates and low fat content in it but the carb content is much lower than in potato, yam, rice and wheat. Plantain are quite famous in tropical countries like India, Thailand, Sri Lanka. Almost every single family homes will have a banana tree. My grandparents backyard has three banana trees and my granddad would water and nurture them everyday. When there is a huge gathering or party, he would venture to his tiny garden with a knife to bring fresh banana leaves before the meal. He will patiently wash them clean with running water, swing it to-n-fro to get rid of the dripping water and stack them neatly in one corner of the kitchen counter. When its time to serve the food, he would order the maid to place them on the floor for the diner to use them as a plate. Yes, they are use and throw. The biodegradable disposable plates of South India πŸ™‚ Once the tree bores the fruit (plantain), he would remove them and let it ripe by placing them in dark. The wonderful smell of ripen bananas would linger in the storeroom shelves.
How to peel a plantain?
1. Wash the plantains in running water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
2. Slice off the ends (about 0.5 cm)
3. Use a vegetable peeler to get rid of the skin. You may not get rid of the skin in the first attempt as the skin is fibrous and thick.
4. Once done, slice into roundels or cubes or any shape of your choice and place them in salted water to prevent discoloration.
How I chose a good one for my home?
1. Plantains can be found in every grocery store in the US. I look for firm, green ones and avoid yellowish, squishy ones. There is no use when you bring a moldy fruit, so avoid that too.
2. Look for smooth ones without any insect holes.
I tasted this plantain stir fry at my in-law’s place and I loved the simplicity in its cooking process and authenticity in its taste. Just with the addition of onions and ginger, the plantain got a new dimension. Just like potatoes, plantains are neutral in taste and they complement and blend well with the seasonings. For the pongal party, I decided to include plantain curry as one of the sides and served them along rice, sambhar and rasam. I called up my mother-in law for a recipe recap and quick tips to survive any disaster. Luckily the dish turned out pretty delicious in the first attempt itself.
Plantain stir fry is hearty, crispy and delicious. The sweetness from onions and goodness from ginger and mild heat from green chillies makes the dish taste extremely delicious. This foolproof recipe will make it easy for everyone to try and win the heart of many at home.
PLANTAIN STIR FRY – Vazhakai varuval
Source: Mother-in law
Serves: 10
3 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon urad dhal/ black gram
20-25 curry leaves
2 large red onions –
2 inch ginger – minced
5 Thai green chillies
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon red chili powder
2 tablespoon coriander powder
8 long raw plantains
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste, about 2-3 teaspoon
1. Remove the skin of the plantains, wash and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Cut them into roundels about 1cm or little less in thickness. Place in a bowl of water to avoid oxidation. If left in the open, the atmospheric air will turn them black. Set aside.
2. Make a paste with onions, green chillies and ginger. Set aside.
3. Heat oil inΒ  a large pan. Once they ripple, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the urad dhal and let it brown a bit, about 30 -60 seconds. Add the curry leaves and let it crisp up, about a minute.
4. Add the onion-ginger paste and saute till the raw smell disppaears, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle turmeric, chili and coriander powder and let it saute till the raw smell disappears, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the plantains and pour water. Stir to combine and cook covered on low flame for 30 minutes. Once the plantains have cooked through, rise the heat to medium high and let them crisp up. Keep an eye while cooking or else they might get burnt.
Click to readΒ  more about my pongal party
1. The addition of onion paste will make the dish taste bitter during the cooking process. If you end up tasting the dish every 10 minutes during the cooking, it will taste bitter and will scare you. Leave it untouched for 30 minutes and when they are completely done,Β  do a taste check.
2. Not included in the menu list for those in South beach phase 1 meals.
3. Since plantains have just little less carbs than potatoes, I don’t think they are allowed for women with gestational diabetes. If you still crave for plantain dish during pregnancy, restrict yourself to a cup (cooked) and do mild walking after the meal to break down the sugar.

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  1. oooooooh Vijitha I want to come there…mmm comforting meal. Sometime I wish to have this kinda meal offcourse not cooked by me.. I want to sit enjoy eating meal cooked by others.

  2. You are making all my favorite things and these are things I can't make here πŸ™ Vazhakkai looks so perfect, I only need some rasam sadam with this now..

  3. When I was a kid I never enjoyed them much, later mom used to make them with Coconut in Kerala style and I love them with spicy curries πŸ™‚

  4. Arvind loves plantain and i make it almost in a similar manner. I some still cannot love this veggie and only possible way i enjoy it is my making chips out of it πŸ™‚

  5. love this.. we too make this often when in India..but sadly here where I live, we dont get plantains… and lovely clicks… πŸ™‚

  6. I love plantains but have never tried cooking them… your detailed recipe makes me think I could try!

  7. i love raw banana stir fry, esp with curd rice its my all time fav combo. love that char on each individual piece, looks delish

  8. I have never had plantains before – this sounds so intriguing! We have a bunch of ethnic food stores about 1 hour north of us, I'll have to see if I can get some and try and make this.

  9. I don't think I've ever had plantains before, but this dish looks so good. I love that you put the recipe source as your mother in law.

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