Vazhaipoo Kuzhambu, gravy with banana flower, I had seen this on a cookery show, long time back, but never got to try it, until now. I remembered the recipe very vaguely, so then I saw this recipe video and followed it. They also call this gravy as ' Saiva Meen Kuzhambu ', which means Vegetarian Fish Gravy', the reason might be that, the ingredients added and the way it's cooked is all similar to that of a Fish Gravy. The kuzhambu is tangy and spicy and goes very well with some plain white rice..
Need To Have
- Vazhaipoo/ Banana Flower - 1 cup
- Small Onions/ Shallots - 1/2 cup, chopped
- Garlic - 6 cloves, sliced
- Green Chilly - 1 slit
- Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
- Corn Flour - 2 teaspoons
- Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Cumin Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
- Red Chilly Powder - 2 teaspoons + 1/4 teaspoon
- Coriander Powder - 2 + 1/2 teaspoons
- Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Cumin Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Fennel Seeds Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Tamarind - 1 gooseberry sized ball
- Grated Coconut - 2 tablespoons
- Curry Leaves - 10 - 15
- Salt to taste
Original recipe here
I have shown you how to prepare the banana flower for cooking, once we pull open the brown layer, we'll see the tiny white bunch, remove it. Now from each one of them we have to remove the stamen, the one with a bulb like head and the onion like cover ( shown in the picture ).
Do the same with the rest, the flower gets smaller in size as we peel, once it gets too small, we need not remove the stamen or the onion stuff, and later when it becomes too small to peel and it's no longer brown in color, we just use it as such ( see on the plate).
Take 1 cup of the cleaned banana flowers, add the corn flour, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and the 1/4 teaspoon chilly powder, mix and keep it aside for 20 minutes.
Heat some oil for deep frying, add the flowers, little at a time, fry and remove.
Soak the tamarind in 3/4 cup of warm water, squeeze and strain the juice, add another 3/4 cup of water, repeat, so totally we have 1 + 1/2 cup of tamarind juice. Grind the coconut, remove and keep.
Heat some sesame oil, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds, once it starts sputtering, add the fenugreek seeds followed by the small onions, garlic and green chilly. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and saute till it turns mushy.
Add the 2 teaspoons chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and fennel seeds powder and mix, then add the tamarind extract and salt.
Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes on medium low heat. Add the coconut paste and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the fried vazhaipoo, mix and cook for 2 more minutes, add the curry leaves, drizzle some sesame oil and remove.
If you don't want to fry, then saute the vazhaipoo and add, but frying it removes the slight bitterness.
Add chilly powder according to your spice level, mine was less spicy, so I had to add 2 teaspoons of it.