Vazhaithandu is the inner part of the banana trunk. Once the banana fruit is harvested, the trunk is also consumed and is a very healthy vegetable.
Most parts of a Banana plant, like the fruits both ripe and raw, flowers and the tender core of the trunk as stem are consumed in Southern India. Besides, the remaining leaves are used as plates for serving food. The Banana plant has an enormous number of uses. The stem has many vitamins and minerals. In addition, it is highly sought after for its fibre content. Cleaning all the outer layers and the fibre from the stem takes some time. After chopping into tiny pieces, they can be cooked along with dhal or simply served as a salad.
COOKING TIME : 1 hour
SERVINGS : 3
1. Vazhai Thandu ( Tender Banana stem ) : 1 medium size one
2. Green Gram Dhal : 1/3 Cup ( 60 grams }
3. Onion : 2
4. G. chilli: 3
5. Turmeric Powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
6. Cumin Powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
7. Coconut Gratings : 0.25 Cup
8. Oil : 1 Tablespoon
9. Mustard seed : 1 Teaspoon
10. Curry Leaves : 2 sprigs
11. Salt : 0. 5 Teaspoon
12. Water : 1 Cup
Wash the green gram dhal with water and soak in water for 15 minutes.
Remove the thick outer layer of the stem until you get the tender core of the stem. Once done, chop the tender core into tiny pieces removing the fibre which comes out constantly. Keep a bowl of water or sour milk to put the chopped pieces to keep them from changing colour. Also, cut the onions and green chilli into small pieces.
Cook the soaked dhal in one cup water over medium flame covering it with a lid in a skillet for 10 minutes. When the dhal is cooked nearly 3/4th, add the chopped “thandu” along with cumin powder and turmeric powder. Cook the dhal thandu for another 7 to 8 minutes. Keep another frying pan over medium flame with oil. Add mustard, chopped onion, green chilli and curry leaves and saute for 5 minutes. Add the cooked dhal thandu to it. Finally, mix the salt and coconut gratings into it.
TIPS : Half a cup of thick curd can be mixed with the cooked dish. This is optional.