How to Clean Banana Flower / Vazhaipoo Cleaning Method

A Banana Flower also known as banana blossom, vazhaipoo. One of my favorite edible flowers and I make vadai(fritter) whenever I get the fresh one.

In Banana Flower, Each purple petals(bract) has to be removed. Each florets consist of calyx(transparent white small petal), pistil(a stigma with a head which look like a matchstick). These two has to be removed from each florets. Please refer the picture for easy understanding.

The center white part of the flower is called as banana flower heart. It doesn't need any cleaning and it can be used as it is. The tender florets in which the perianth(the transparent white outer big petal in the floret) cannot be opened, then it can be used as it without removing the stigma and calyx.

Cleaning the banana blossom is a tiresome job but it is worth to try for it's health benefits and just for the tasty fritters.

The cleaned florets are chopped finely and then used in various recipes. Some of the recipes are
1. vazhaipoo vadai
2. Vazhaipoo adai
3. Vazhaipoo poriyal
4. Vazhaipoo usili

The banana flower heart can be used in making a south Indian special gravy which goes very well with rice. It has an unique taste and many health benefits. It is rich in iron, calcium, vitamin a and c.
Basic Information:
Cleaning Time: 25 minutes

1 Banana Flower
1 tsp gingelly oil or any oil
3 cups water
¼ cup curd

Video Method:

Method with step by step pictures:
1) Apply a teaspoon of gingelly oil or any type of oil in your hand. Rub it all over the hand. The oil prevents the hands from darkening.
2) First remove the purple petals which is called as bract and keep it aside.
3) Now you can view the bunch of florets. Remove those florets and collect them in a wide plate.
4) Repeat this step until you see a white cone and unable to separate the petals at all.
5) This white cone is called as banana flower heart. It can be used as it is and it doesn't need any cleaning.
6) Now, take one floret at a time and separate the white transparent small petal and then the stigma. Pluck these two carefully.Please refer the picture for easy understanding.
7) Repeat this step with rest of the florets. The flowers which are slightly dark or black in colour can also be used.The tender florets can be used in recipes without remove stigma and calyx.
8) After cleaning, Whisk 3 cups of water with 1/4 cup curd. now the buttermilk is ready.
9) Finely chop the cleaned florets along with the banana flower heart(white cone).
10) Keep immersed in water till it is used in any recipe. Drain the water and rinse it well, just before using it any recipes.
Serving Suggestions:
1) It can be used as a raw ingredient in salads.
2) It is used as a one of the ingredients to make vadai or poriyal (southindian delicacy).
1) Your hand sometimes becomes dark even after applying the oil. To avoid it, you can use the hand gloves.
2) The cleaned florets can be stored in a dry container or ziploc and stored in refrigerator for 8 hours.
3) To remove the bitterness of the banana flower, it is soaked in salted or lemon juice mixed water as soon as it is cleaned. Make sure to rinse it in cold water before using this soaked florets in recipe. 

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Maravalli Kizhangu Adai / Kappa Adai / Tapioca Adai

Today we are going to see how to make maravalli kizhangu adai / kappa adai / Tapioca Adai recipe with step by step pictures.

Maravalli Kizhangu has various names and it differs region to region. We call this as kappa kizhangu and it has other names like Maravalli Kizhangu, Kuchi kizhangu, Tapioca and Cassava in other regions.

It has a very thick skin but if it is very fresh, the skin comes off easily from the starchy flesh. If you don't get fresh marvalli kizhangu, use a sharp knife to remove the thick outer skin. After peeling the skin, you can either grate it or chop into small pieces (whichever you find easy).  I have grated the tapioca which is easy compared to the chopping.

If you don't have any common allergies against root based vegetables, then you can you make this recipe and enjoy it for breakfast or dinner.Tapioca is naturally gluten free and easy to digest. It controls weight gain and is rich in Vitamin C and minerals.

Generally adai batter is prepared by grinding lentil into a coarse batter. This adai recipe with tapioca can be grind into a fine batter or slightly coarse batter according to the consistency you need.
For thin adai, make the batter thin and for thick adai,  make the batter slight thick. Adai takes long time to cook, so cook it in medium flame on both the sides for uniform heat spread.

Other Maravalli Kizhangu Recipes:
Maravalli Kizhangu Vadai
Maravalli Kizhangu chips
Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 20
Soaking Time: 8 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 5

1 cup raw rice
½ cup toor dal
¼ cup channa dal
2 cups grated maravalli kizhangu
3 dry red chillies
1 inch ginger
Salt to taste
A big pinch asafoetida
2 tsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
Few curry leaves
¾ cup onion, finely chopped
Water required to make batter

Video Recipe:

Method with step by step pictures:
1) In a mixing bowl, add rice, toor dal and channa dal.
2) Wash it well for two or three times. Add sufficient water and soak it for 8 hours. I have added water 2 inch just above the rice quantity.
3) After 8 hours, drain the water. Grind  the half part of rice and dal mix using the mixie by adding enough water.
4) Transfer to a bowl.
5) Add the remaining rice and dal mix to the mixie jar. Add grated maravalli kizhangu, dry red chillies and chopped ginger.
6) Grind it to a smooth coarse paste and add it to the same bowl.
7) Take another pan, add oil. Once it is hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and few curry leaves.
8) Add onion and saute till it is soft and translucent. Add this sauteed onion to the batter.
9) Add asafoetida and salt to taste.
10) Mix well and adjust the water consistency according to the need. The batter should be slightly thick than the usual dosa batter we prepare.
11) Heat a griddle or tawa.
12) Pour a ladle full of batter and spread it evenly. you can pour it as thick or thin dosa. Drizzle the oil.
13) When one side is cooked, flip to cook the other side.
14) When both the sides are cooked, transfer to a plate and repeat the procedure with rest of the batter.
15) Serve hot with tomato chutney or any of your favorite chutney.

Serving suggestions:
1) Serve it with powdered jaggery, any of the chutney for breakfast or for dinner.
2) It pairs well with avial too.
1) Instead of one cup idly rice, 1/2 cup raw rice and 1/2 cup  idly rice can be used.
2) The tapioca or kappa can be grated well in advance before making this adai.
3) Sauting onion is optional. if you are not sauting the onion, then you can add all the ingredients used for sauting to the batter excecp oil.
4) Adjust the water consistency based on how you make adai. If you want thin adai, then keep the batter thin. if you want thick adai, keep the batter thick.
5) If there is any leftover batter, it stays good for a day if stored in refrigerator as we have sauteed the onion well. If you are using the raw onion without sauteing, then use the batter within a day it is prepared.

Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal

Sweet pongal or Sakkarai pongal or Sarkkarai pongal for Pongal festival. This sweet recipe is often prepared during the Hindu festivals of pongal, nombu and also on the special occasions. It is generally served as a prasadam in temples on auspicious days and also on Fridays. Every south Indian household prepares pongal in a different way. However the ingredients are almost same, only the preparation differs.

This pressure cooker method uses rice, yellow moongdal, jaggery, cardamom, ghee, cashews and raisins. In temples, pongal is prepared with edible camphor and with cloves. These two ingredients can also be added at home if you like the flavor of it. The Pongal recipe tastes so good if it is prepared using good quality raw rice. The raw rice can be substituted by cooking rice(sona masuri or boiled ponni rice) except basmati. If you are using cooking rice, then make sure to soak it for 30 minutes before cooking and increase the number of whistles while pressure cooking it. So that you can mash it well to get a perfect pongal consistency.

It is mandatory to roast the yellow moong dal for nice flavor. It is just enough to roast it till it slightly changes in its colour. No need to roast till it turns golden brown. Choose the dark colored jaggery to get the perfect colour for pongal. The light colour jaggery works well too in case if you do not get dark colored jaggery. Use a good quality ghee for perfect aroma and taste for the pongal. Make sure to filter the jaggery syrup before adding it to pongal. The jaggery I have been using is free from dust, so I have used it directly to the pongal. I have added 1/4 cup of ghee which gives nice flavour to the given pongal quantity, however one can adjust it according to their personal preference.
Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 5 to 6

½ cup yellow moongdal
1 cup rice(cooking rice or raw rice)
4 cups water
1 cup jaggery
½ cup water for jaggery
¼ cup ghee
3 tbsp cashew nuts
1 tbsp raisins
¼ tsp green cardamom powder
A pinch of salt

Video Recipe:

Method with step by step pictures:
1) Dry roast the yellow moong dal till it slightly changes to dark yellow colour. No need to dry roast till it becomes golden brown.
2) Add it to a pressure cooker. Add the rice. Add water to wash. Rinse it two or three times or until the water runs out clean.
3) Add 4 cups of water. Pressure cook it for 4 whistles.
4) Once the pressure is released, open the lid.
5) Mash the rice and dal mix well using the ladle.
6) Once the mashed rice and dal mix is ready, heat the jaggery with 1/2 cup of water.
7) Let the jaggery meltdown completely without any lumps. Now the jaggery syrup is ready. Just boil once and filter to remove the impurity if any.
8) Add the jaggery syrup to the rice and dal mix. Add cardamom powder and a pinch of salt. Mix well & mash using the ladle without any lumps.
9) Once it is mixed well, then heat the mixture and cook till it bubbles.
10) Mix and turn off the flame when it bubbles.
11) Heat another pan and add ghee.
12) Add cashew nuts and raisins. Fry well till it turns golden brown in colour.
13) Add these fried cashew and raisins along with ghee to the pongal.
14) Mix well.
15) Hot pongal is ready.

Serving Suggestions:
1) Served as a prasadam in temples after pooja.
2) Serve it as sweet along with any south Indian breakfast or lunch menu during festival time.
1) Use raw rice for best results for this pongal. If you are using cooking rice, then make sure to soak it for 30 minutes before cooking.
2) I pressure cooked the rice and dal for 4 whistles. You can increase the whistles according to the rice you use.
3) For perfect gooey pongal, the given measurement works well. however, the pongal becomes thick once it cools down. So adjust the water consistency accordingly when you are adding the jaggery syrup.
4) Edible cambhor or cloves can also be added. but the traditional home made pongal doens't need these ingredients.

Mushroom Masala / Kalan Masala

Mushroom Masala  or Mushroom Gravy or Kalan Masala is a very simple yet tasty gravy that goes very well with Pulao, Roti and Chapathi. This recipe uses a very simple ingredients and needs only less preparation work.

I have used button mushroom for this recipe. Portobello mushrooms go well with this recipe too. It needs the finely cooked tomato onion based gravy. Make sure to cook this gravy well, for a perfect mushroom masala.

For a nice colour, I have used kashmiri red chilli powder which gives wonder colour but less spicy. You can adjust it according to the spice powder you use. Addition of cashews give nice creamy texture for this gravy and do not skip it.
Basic Information:
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 5

2 tbsp Oil
2 inch cinnamon
3 cloves
2 green cardamom
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 cup tomato, finely chopped
2 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¾ tsp garam masala
¾ tsp salt or to taste
¼ to ½ cup water or as required
5 whole cashews
2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
3 cups mushrooms, chopped

Video Recipe:

Method with step by step pictures:
1) Soak the whole cashews in 2 tbsp warm water.
2) Heat oil in a wide pan. Add cinnamon, cloves and green cardamom.
3) Once they turn brown, add onion. saute it till it becomes soft and translucent.
4) Add ginger garlic paste and saute it for a minute. Make sure the flame is in low otherwise the ginger garlic paste sticks to the pan.
5) Add tomato and mix till it becomes mushy.
6) Once the tomato mashed well and the oil started to ooze out, add the red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder.
7) Mix well and cook till the raw smell of masala goes off. Cook it in low to medium flame.
8) Add chopped mushroom and salt to taste. Mix well. While cooking mushroom leaves out water.
9) Mushroon soon shrinks in it's size and became super soft.
10) Now, grind the cashew to a smooth paste. add it to the masala along with required water to the gravy. I added approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup water. Mix well.
11) Allow it to boil and then simmer till the oil separates from the masala and the masala becomes slightly shiny.
12) Add coriander leaves and mix well.
13) Continue to keep the masala in simmer till the oil oozes out of the masala.
14) Serve hot with roti.

Serving suggestion:
1) Serve it with hot pulao or with roti for lunch or dinner.
1) Mushroom leaves water while cooking. so add water after cooking the mushroom.
2) Instead if kashmiri red chilli, if you use regular chilli powder, then adjust it according to the spicy level. Kashmiri red chilli powder is less spicy, hence I added more.
3) Choose juicy tomatos for better taste.

Seppankizhangu Kulambu / Arbi Gravy / South Indian Style Taro Root Gravy

Seppankizhangu or Arbi or taro toot gravy prepared in South Indian style. Arbi is used in south indian household in many ways but majorly as Seppankizhangu toast or fry, Arbi more kulambu and this seppankizhangu puli kulambu.

In all recipes boiled Arbi is used. I choose pressure cooker to boil it as it is very easy. One can also add it in a sauce pan along with water and boil it for 10 to 15 minutes. The Arbi has to be firm, retain the shape after boiling. Then only it can be cut or sliced to use in other recipes. Perfectly boiled Arbi always gives perfect recipe.

This gravy doesn’t need a perfect shape Arbi. If the Arbi is overcooked, still it can be used in this gravy but adjust the water consistency accordingly.
Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3

2 tbsp gingelly oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
5 garlic cloves
¾ cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup tomato, roughly chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp sambar masala or kulambu masala
Salt to taste
1 cup tamarind extract
3 seppankizhangu, boiled, peeled and sliced
¼ cup water or as required

Video Recipe:

Method with Step by Step Pictures:
1) Boil Arbi or seppankizhangu in a pressure cooker. Add the seppankizhangu along with a cup of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. A knife should be inserted easily and at the same time it has to hold the shape.

2) Cool down and peel the skin. Roughly slice it.
3) Soak tamarind in a cup of warm water for 15 minutes and extract the juice from it. Keep it aside.
4) Heat oil in a kadai.
5) Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds. Add curry leaves and allow it to crackle.
6) Add garlic cloves and sauté it till it gets slightly golden brown.
7) Add onion and sauté till it is soft and translucent.
8) Add tomato and sauté till it becomes mushy.
 9) Add turmeric powder, Sambar masala or kulambu masala and salt.
10) Mix well and let all the raw smell of masala goes off.
Add tamarind water and mix well. If needed add additional 1/4 cup(or as required) of water.
11) Let it roll boil well. Add the sliced seppankizhangu to it.
Keep the flame in low to medium. Simmer till the gravy thickens and the oil oozes out.
12) You can drizzle a teaspoon of gingelly oil now. It is completely optional.
13) Turn the flame off and serve hot with steamed rice.
Serving Suggestions:
1) Serve it for lunch along with hot rice.

1) Adjust the water consistency according to your preference.
3) Adjust the tamarind quantity according to the sourness of the tomato used.
4) Adjust the masala according to the spice level needed. 


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