In a tropical place like South India, we get in plenty Banana flowers and fruits.So it is common here to make dishes out of Banana flowers. This Banana flower or Vazhaipoo Vadai can be eaten as a snack item or as a side dish along with rice meals.
COOKING TIME: 2 hours
1. Banana flower: 1 cup (finely chopped flower)
2. Bengal Gram Dhal (Channa Dhal): 0.5 Cup or 100 Grams
3. Green Chilies: 2
4. Onion: 1
5. Curry leaves and Coriander leaves: 1 sprig each
6. Aniseed: 0.25 Teaspoon
7. Salt: 0.5 Teaspoon
8. Turmeric Powder: 0.5 Teaspoon
9. Oil: 200 ml
Soak Bengal gram Dhal in sufficient water for 1 1/2 hours and grind in a blender along with salt and aniseed to a coarse batter consistency. Take the Banana flower bunch and remove the outer layer and then the flowers individually first. Then remove the stamen and the membrane which are not edible from each flower. Chop them finely and keep them in water with turmeric powder till they are added to the batter. This will help the flower to retain its color. Chop onion, G.chili and curry, coriander leaves finely. Mix the Dhal batter with the chopped flower, onion, G.chili, Curry, Coriander leaves and make small lime sized balls. You must squeeze and remove all the water completely from the chopped flowers before mixing with the batter. Flatten them and shape them like “vadais.” Heat oil in a skillet and drop the vadais gently in to the hot oil 3 or 4 numbers at a time and deep fry. You have to turn it carefully so that both sides are well cooked to a golden brown color. Drain excess oil and serve hot.
you will get approximately 10 pieces of vadais for this quantity of ingredients.
In case the batter has too much water to make the vadai to the right shape, you can add 2 teaspoons of puffed Bengal gram dhal powder (Pottukadalaimavu)
We can make “keeraivadai” replacing the Banana flowers with chopped greens.
Paal Kozhukattai is a sweet made out of milk, as the name suggests and it is called ” Modak” in Hindi. It is prepared on special occasions at home during festival days mainly in Chettinad areas. It takes some time to prepare this sweet but it is worth all the trouble and time we spend in the preparation.
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Rice Flour : 1.5 Cups or 200 Grams
2. Sugar : 1 Cup or 175 Grams
3. Coconut : 1 medium size
4. Water : 1.5 Cups
5. Milk : 0.5 Cup
6. Salt : 0.25 Teaspoon
7. Cardamom : 4
Boil 1/2 Cup water and remove from fire. Add the salt along with the rice flour to the hot water and knead it well without any lumps to a smooth dough. Take small portions out of the dough and form small ” kozhukattais” of any shape of your choice like smooth round balls or spindle or cylindrical. keep them aside.
Grate Coconut and keep a tablespoon of grated coconut separately. Now put the remaining Coconut gratings in to a blender and extract thick Coconut milk.
The first Coconut milk extract is thick. Add one cup of water to the Coconut and take the second extract. This milk will be thinner in quality. Powder the Cardamom.
In a broad skillet boil the milk along with the Coconut milk extracted the second time (as Second quality which is thinner) over high flame. When the milk is boiling, drop the “kozhukattais” gently into it. Allow them to cook for 5 mins over medium flame and they start floating.
Now add the sugar with the cardamom powder and wait for a couple of mts till the sugar dissolves. Finally add the thick Coconut milk extracted first time to the preparation and wait for a few seconds. This sweet can be consumed either hot or cold.
If you are making rice flour at home, raw rice should be soaked in water for half an hour. Grind it to a fine powder ( after completely draining water from the rice). Then the wet rice flour should be fried lightly in a vessel (without adding oil ) for a few mins.
Sugar Can be replaced with Jaggery ( unrefined sugar or brown sugar) for this sweet.
3. To get a thick consistency, You can add one tea spoon of rice flour to the boiling milk.
Avarakkai (Tamil, Kannada) or Avarai is a vegetable eaten in South India. It comes from a vine with the botanical name of Dolichos lablab and it is grown as a food crop through Asia and parts of Africa. It is also known as field bean or lablab bean in the U.S. , where it is usually grown as an ornamental. The Chinese are known to have cultivated the plant for its beautiful flowers and beans, for centuries. In South India, Avarakkai Poriyal is traditionally cooked as a side dish for rice during Pongal. The commonly found variety around the world is the bright violet phenotype, but the green variety found in India known as Pachchai Avarai in Tamil, is a better food crop.
Pachchai Avarai Kootu: Cooking Time: 20 minutes.
Shelled beans – 200grams
Oil: – 1 table spoon
Mustard seed – 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin (jeera) – ½ teaspoon
Red chili – 3no
Small onion (shallots) – 5no
Cloves garlic – 2no
Coconut grating – 2 tablespoon
Boil the shelled beans along with turmeric powder and salt with enough water till the beans are soft and tender. Grind all the other items coarsely and put aside. In a pan pour oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seed start to splutter, add the ground masala (spice mixture) and fry. Then add the boiled beans and stir for a few minutes till you get the right consistency.