Before my marriage, I and my sis used to go to our native during weekends and my mom prepares some of our favorite vegetarian dishes using the fresh vegetables grown in the nearby farms. To be specific, she cooks bitter gourd for me and banana stem for my sis. My sister is a great fan of this stem. Sometimes she prepares juice out of it and drinks and ends up giving me a big lecture about its medicinal properties. I eat it occasionally when it is prepared at home for my sister. As days flew I couldn’t remember how I developed an affinity for this health dish. Now I have started cooking this dish at home. Thanks to my sis who helped me to eat this healthy veggie.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 persons
Banana stem / Plantain stem / Vazhai thandu – 1 no, large size
Yellow moong dal – 2 tablespoons (optional)
Small onion / Shallots / Chinna vengayam – 1/4 cup, chopped
Green chillies – 3 nos, slit
Coconut – 3 tablespoons, grated
Turmeric powder – a big pinch
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds and Urad dal – 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves – 2 strings
Water – 4 cups (see notes)
Butter milk – 1/4 cup (see notes)
1) Wash and soak moong dal for 15 minutes. In a deep vessel, mix both water and buttermilk.
2) Wash and remove outer skins of banana stem. You need to use only the core part for preparing the stir fry.
2) Cut the core stem in round discs and again cut them into small parts. Remove the fibre that comes while chopping.
3) Transfer the chopped banana stem to a buttermilk water mixture. This helps to avoid discolouration.
4) Dip a steel or wooden skewer in to the vessel where you kept the chopped banana stem and swirl it for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, take the skewer out and if you see any fibre then slowly remove these fibres. Repeat the swirling step until you don’t see any fibre.
5) Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot, add mustard seeds and urad dal. Allow it to sizzle. Add curry leaves, slit green chillies. Saute it for few seconds.
6) Add chopped onion and saute it till onion becomes soft and translucent.
7) Simmer the flame and drain the water from chopped banana stem and moong dal. Add it to the pan. Mix well. No need to add water. The moisture in the banana stem is enough. Close the pan using a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes.
8) After 3 minutes, remove the lid. Add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Continue cooking in low flame. Stir well in between for even cooking. Cook till the stem becomes soft.
9) When the stem is well cooked, add grated coconut and mix well. Turn the flame off.
10) Serve hot with steamed rice and any of your favourite gravy.
1) The water that is used for washing rice can also be used instead of buttermilk and water mixture to avoid discolouration of banana stems.
2) Try to use the stem within two days after purchasing it. Otherwise, the stem turns to dark color quickly when chopped.