Banana flowers also known as banana blossoms are the flowers from a banana tree. And just like bananas, they are edible and are commonly used in Thai cuisine for a salad or soup. In south India these flowers are used to make fritters or a simple and delicious stir-fry which can be eaten along side rice and a curry like sambar. This was my first time cooking with banana flower.
While i really liked the taste of this stir-fry, i didn’t quite enjoy the cleaning involved to get to the tender, edible leaves inside. I got this flower from my local Indian grocery store, i read somewhere that Asian grocery stores carry them in their fresh produce section, all cleaned up and soaked in water. I think that’s the way to go with these labor-intensive flowers. If you wish to spend 30 minutes cleaning one flower, here’s how to do it. Remove the dark, tough petals. Each layer will have a few pale pink leaves which are edible. Remove the stamen from each leaf along with the white plastic paper like wrapper (shown in the pic below) and discard. Save the rest in a bowl of water mixed with few drops of lemon juice. This is done to prevent oxidation.
These flowers are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C. They taste like leeks, with a slight crunch and are cooked with Indian spices and grated coconut in this delicious stir-fry. These flowers can also be paired with crumbled lentils to make usili. Minus the work involved in getting to the edible parts, this recipe is a keeper.
1 banana flower, cleaned and edible parts chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon split black gram/urad dal
1 tablespoon split Bengal gram/channa dal
1/4 teaspoon powdered asafetida
2 dried red chilies
3 tablespoons grated coconut
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
few curry leaves
1. Place chopped banana flower along with water and turmeric powder in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and let it cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and when oil is hot, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter.
3. Add black gram and cook for a minute till it turns reddish-brown.
4. Add Bengal gram and cook for a minute.
5. Add powdered asafetida and curry leaves, cook for 30 seconds.
6. Add banana flower and salt, cook for few minutes on medium heat till all the moisture evaporates .
7. Add grated coconut, mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
8. Serve hot with rice.