Disclaimer : This post had been sitting in the drafts for quite sometime . Why ? No clue but it surely deserves its place in the sun. I hope you too would enjoy making it.
Back to Basics:
Some days you just want to reach deep down and go all the traditional style.. More like listening to call from your soul and indulge int the food you grew up on.. At least partially for me. While I was certainly exposed to a wide range, but a few just stick by you. Take this dish made out of raw banana for example. I have just about made anything from kabab to koftas from it, but this simple steamed version with just a hint of tanginess is so easy to make. Huge plus, it uses just a couple of tbsp. of oil for about 5-6 of those plantains and uses lime/ lemon for the tart effect. Fresh taste that simply lingers in your mouth ! So when I do talk about the raw banana it is not the banana which u peel and eat. This is the tropical version or plantains which gets cooked.
If you are familiar with the southern part of India, two particular states enjoy these – Kerala and Tamill Nadu. They each have their variations and I suppose each family would have their own spin of it. Well this is mine 🙂
Cook time : 25-30 min Serves : 4-6
- Vazhakkai/Raw Banana – 5-6 medium numbers
- Ginger – skinned, 1 inch, grated
- Turmeric Powder/ Haldi : 1 tsp
- Asafoetida/ Hing : A pinch
- Salt : 1 tsp. + to taste
- Dry Red chillies ( medium spice ) : 4 , split in half
- Mustard Seeds – 1.5 tsp.
- Split, de husked Urad Dal : 1.5 Tbsp.
- Curry Leaves : 8-10
- Oil – 1.5 – 2 Tbsp.
- Juice of lime / lemon – 1 -2 Tbsp. depending on the sourness level
- Take a huge stock pot and fill it nearly 2/3 with water. The idea being to immerse all the cut pieces of the raw banana in it. Therefore give enough room for it.
- Trim the ends of the raw banana and cut it into 2-3 pieces depending on the length of it. You are looking for about 3-4 inches of it in length.
- Add a pinch of salt and bring it boil for a about 5 minutes or so. DO NOT OVERCOOK IT. You just want it a tad tender. A prick in the center of the banana will tell you if you cooked al dente.
- Strain the water, cool & peel the thick outer layer. If done properly, these would just peel off . Cool well and grate.
- Heat a wok, stir fry pan or kadai with oil.
- Add the Hing, turmeric powder then mustard seeds and once it splutters add grated ginger, and the add the split red chilies and then urad dal and fry till golden brown . Stir it for another 30 seconds.
- Add curry leaves, and the grated plantains stir once.
- Add salt to taste and toss gently. You want to retain the individual grate texture and not mushy it .
- Cook this on low heat for about 5 minutes or so. Stir it a couple of times gently to ensure the spices are coated well.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Add the juice of limes and toss it once and serve with hot rice and any stew of your choice.
- Substitute the red chilies for 3-4 green chillies and 1/4 cup of fresh grated coconut.
- Do not add the red chilies and ginger during the tadka stage , but add the dry grind mix of green chilies, ginger and coconut at the penultimate step.
- Cook, cool and then add the juice of lime. Tastes really good !