Banana Blossom Stir Fry | Vazhakoombu Thoran

Banana Blossom Stir Fry | Vazhakoombu Thoran
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Banana blossom is the superfood you haven’t heard of yet! It’s packed with essential nutrients such as phosphorous, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, iron, antioxidants, and fiber. According to Ayurveda, it balances pitta and is used to treat bronchitis, constipation, and ulcer among other things.

A typical site in most backyards in Kerala

If this is your first time setting eyes on one of these, it might seem a bit intimidating. But don’t worry I got you covered! I use almost the entire blossom by turning the hard outer leaves into a coconut chutney, the outer florets into fritters, and the rest goes into this stir fry. You can find these at most Indian stores and Asian markets. 

Freshly plucked blossom from our backyard in Kerala
Banana blossom stir fry

Banana Blossom Stir Fry | Vazhakoombu Thoran

Banana blossom stir-fried with grated coconut and spices.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course, Sadhya, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Kerala
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 banana blossom medium size
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder; cayenne adjust according to your heat level
  • salt to taste

Coconut mixture

  • 1/2 cup grated coconut fresh or frozen
  • 1 green chili adjust according to your heat level
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 3 shallots you can substitute with red or yellow onions
  • 3/4 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 sprig curry leaves

Tempering

  • 1-2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1-2 tsp urad dal split black lentils
  • 1 dried whole red chili
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 4-8 shallots; sliced you can substitute with red or yellow onions
  • 3 tbsp unrefined coconut oil

Instructions
 

  • Grate coconut
    Grated coconut
  • Or defrost frozen shredded coconut. You can find these at all Indian grocery stores.
    Frozen coconut
  • Gather all of your ingredients for the coconut mixture. I don't remove the garlic or ginger peel. I just give it a good wash and throw them in the blender but feel free to peel if you prefer.
    Coconut paste
  • Blend everything to a coarse paste.
    Coconut paste
  • Slice shallots
    Shallots
  • Now comes the fun part, prepping the banana blossom. Rise the blossom and pat dry. Then you want to remove a few of the outer purple layers maybe around 4 or 5 until you start to see a lighter color towards the base. Remove all the flowers from these layers too and set them aside to prep them. The outer layers that were just pulled out can be set aside to make chutney but cannot be used for this dish as it's too fibrous.
    Banana blossom
  • Here is a video on how to prep the flowers. Open the flower, pull off the hard stem with the bulb on top and the scale or plastic like petal and discard. Get the whole family involved, it's a fun activity to do together while you chat. It's also a great opportunity to teach the kids some botany! Once they are prepped you can chop them up and use it in this dish or keep them aside to make fritters.
  • Before you start chopping the blossom make sure to put some oil on your hands, knife, and cutting board to prevent the sap from staining and sticking to everything. Here are two ways to chop banana blossoms for a stirfry. The first method is very axe-murderer-esque but it's the traditional way to chop it in Kerala. The second one is more mundane but you get to keep all your fingers. 
  • Cut off the stalk then cut the blossom in half. Thinly slice each half lengthwise.
  • Then turn it so you can now cut across the lengthwise slices.
  • Mince the roughly chopped pieces.
    Mince
  • Don't be scared if your knife starts to look like this, it's just the sap and will scrub right off.
    Mince
  • After a good scrub.
    Mince
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan, when it's hot add mustard seeds, urad dal, whole red chili, and curry leaves. When you put the curry leaves in be prepared for a lot of spluttering. You can put a lid on right afterward for a few seconds to prevent all the mustard seeds from popping out and to protect yourself from splattering oil.
    Tempering
  • Add sliced onions and salt. Saute until they are translucent.
    Tempering
  • Mix in the coconut and saute for a minute.
    Thoran
  • Mix in turmeric and red chili powder.
    Thoran
  • Add the chopped blossom
  • Mix in around 5 tbsp of water and salt to taste. Cook on low with the lid on for a few mins, making sure to stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom or burning. When it's cooked you can drizzle some unrefined coconut oil over it if you like.
  • Enjoy!
    Banana blossom stir fry
Keyword Sadhya, Stir-fry, Thoran


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