I found out about this indigenous vegetable a couple of years ago and cooked a Kerala style curry. Since the process of cleaning a banana flower is so tedious, I never picked it again until recently when a LiveMint story inspired me to pick it up from the super market. The vegetable is supposed to be rich in Vitamin A and C and has a lot of medicinal values. Peeling and preparing it requires a lot of patience but the result is worth all the trouble. Here’s a step by step procedure of peeling a banana flower.
Grease your hands with a little oil cause this vegetable is a little sticky like the raw banana.
Start be removing the purple petal.
Under each petal you will found stigmas or kaliyan like these. Remove them and keep them in a bowl. Keep removing petals and stigmas till you reach yellow petals which don’t come out as easily as the purple ones.
This is the part of the flower that you will use (you can also use the purple petals as serving bowls)
Now remove the two conical petal like strands from every stigma.
This is how your final product should look like.
Now chop and soak these flowers in salted water or buttermilk overnight. There are various recipes that you can try with this lovely vegetable. I made it the Bengali way, Mochar Ghonto or banana flower sabzi. A quick search on Google lead me to this recipe
and being new to this vegetable I didn’t try to be very experimental. So, here’s the recipe for you.
Mochar or banana flower – 1 medium sized
Scraped coconut – 2 tbsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar – 1 tsp
Mustard oil – 1 tbsp
Wheat flour – 1 tsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Bay leaf – 1
Whole dry red chillis – 2
- Throw away the water in which the banana flower had been soaked.
- Cook the chopped flowers in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan and saute scraped coconut.
- Add the cooked flowers.
- Mix coriander, cumin, red chilli, garam masala, turmeric, salt and sugar in half cup water and add to the coconut and banana flower mix.
- Mix wheat flour in half cup water and add it to the mix coating the banana flowers properly.
Heat ghee in a small pan, add cumin seeds, dry red chillis and bay leaf and let them splutter. Pour the tadka over the banana flower curry and your mochar ghonto is ready. Serve it rice or hot chapatis. I had it with the latter along with aloo posto. A perfect Bengali meal.