Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Vazhakkai (green banana/saba banana) fry

My entire family likes this vegetable, but my sister and I, we're "lattoo" (Hindi slang for "crazy") when it comes to vazhakkai. If we were asked to eat it every day for a year, we would probably beg to have it twice a day! The recipe below is how my mother makes it, and I see no reason to mess with something that I think is perfect. The flavour that the coconut oil gives this vegetable is unbelievable. The two just go together, no question.

That said, if when I get my hands on vazhakkai again, I hope to make a recipe that I've had in my folder for literally years, involving fresh mustard paste. You would think I could hold back at least one vazhakkai for the mustardy recipe... but no. I haven't yet made it because each time I end up making this same one. This dry fry with my mother's thengai kuzhambu (South Indian coconut-and-fenugreek-seed gravy)and steamed rice - I couldn't want for more!

Recipe for:
Vazhakkai fry

 photo 42b56010-ed00-4713-9af3-8d86be5ca5ad_zpsbjo9myep.jpg

3 green (raw) bananas
2 tbsp coconut oil
A few fresh/frozen curry leaves (optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp asafoetida powder (optional)
1/2 tsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
Red chilli powder to taste
Salt to taste
1 tsp tamarind paste


1. Wear disposable gloves or grease your hands with oil before peeling the bananas as the sap will otherwise stick to your hands. Make sure to get all the thick green skin off the bananas.

2. Slice the bananas into even slices about 1/4cm thick and put them in a saucepan of water. The water should be enough to cover the slices generously. Dissolve the tamarind paste and turmeric powder in the water.

3. Parboil the sliced bananas, then place in a colander to drain off the cooking water. Handle carefully so that the slices don't break up too much.

4. Heat the coconut oil in a wide saucepan, then add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Cover and let the seeds splutter. The urad dal should be golden by now.

5. Now add the chilli powder and black pepper powder, stir it for 20 seconds, then add the parboiled banana slices along with salt to taste. Stir carefully to coat the slices evenly.

6. Cover the pan and let the slices roast for 8-10 minutes on a medium heat, until the slices turn golden and are fully cooked. Turn the slices carefully over and let them roast for about 5 minutes more. Serve hot as a side with rice, rasam or sambar and any South Indian "gravy" like moar kuzhambu, vattha kuzhambu or thengai kuzhambu (recipes for all these are on my blog).