Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cooking With Banana Blossoms

Its been a long time since I posted anything here.Mostly I have been cooking the usual stuffs and still enjoying my vacation.Lil angel is having a fun time with her grandparents and I am enjoying the all of the local food in my hometown :)

The other day when Lil angel and me were playing in the backyard,she told me that 'there is a flower in the banana'.I didn't understand what she meant until she pointed out .The banana tree in my neighbor's backyard had a lovely blossom and little green bananas on the stalk.They looked very cute and this was the first time lil Angel caught a glimpse of the blossom on the tree.

We all eat bananas but how many of us have ever tasted the banana blossom?It is so full of goodness yet due to some reason or the other we neglect to add it to our meal.

Banana blossom is something that is ignored these days.I have heard mom and grandma discussing that there were times when they used to make it a habit of preparing a dish with banana blossom on a weekly basis and nowadays neither is it freely available nor do people have the time to 'prepare' it.'Prepare' it does not mean the actual cooking process but to prepare the blossom prior to cooking.It is a tedious process but the benefits of the blossom are profound.It is said that the blossom has many curative properties.

  • The blossoms when cooked and taken with curd is said to be an effective remedy against menstrual pains and excessive bleeding.This does not mean we take it only on those particular days but it has to be included many times in our diet.
  • It is used in the treatment of constipation and ulcer.
  • It is said to increase the milk secretion in lactating mothers.
  • It is a good source of Vitamins and minerals
See,with all this health benefits,I think the next time you spot these blossoms you will be sure to pick one.This what you have to do as soon as you buy the blossom.Separate the dark colored petals and remove the white-yellow  flowers.

    This photograph below shows the non-edible portion to be removed before cooking[This click is specially for those who are going to try this for the first time].

    The stamen is non-edible and has to be removed from each flower. This definitely takes time.

    After removing the non-edible portion from the blossom,chop it finely and keep it stored in a vessel with weak/diluted buttermilk.This will prevent them turning black and bitter.

    These blossoms are available in the farmers market[in India] and in the Asian stores[abroad].Here is a small tip.As soon as you buy the blossom,tie the petals with a piece of string so that they are compact and do not open.Store it in the fridge.[Do not let it sit in the fridge for more than a day.]When the petals are compact,they remain fresh and taste better instead of just storing them in the fridge as such.

    It is best if the blossoms are prepared when they are fresh.Else chop them and store them in a vessel containing buttermilk.It should not be stored for more than 5 hours,else the taste may change.Keep it in the fridge till u are ready to use.Squeeze out the buttermilk and use it in one of these recipes.

    Here are some South Indian recipes[from Tamil Nadu] in which these prepared blossoms can be used..

    Banana blossom-Lentil fritters - [Vaazapoo Vadai] - A crispy snack that masks the blossoms and it is an easy way to make the kids[and the adults] eat the goodness.

    Banana blossom stir-fry -[Vaazhapoo porriyal] A simple stir-fry to go with steamed rice.

    Banana blossom lentil stir-fry [Vaazhapoo paruppu Usili]-Pep up the regular banana blossom stir fry by adding some lentils.This combo is very healthy and definitely tasty....

    Catch me cooking @ Seduce Your Tastebuds



    Hey PJ, glad to hear that you are having a great vacation.

    Your blog was one of those I had checked out when I wanted to try cooking with banana blossom! Now I think I am going to try it and make this lentil fritter!

    Thanks for sharing another idea to use this ingredient.

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