Vazhakka Thoran is an easy and classic dish made with Raw banana and coconut. This version of stir fry can be easily served with rice or rotis.
In the last few months, the state of Kerala has been in the news because of floods and devastation across the state. Many people have lost their near and dear ones. In the middle of all this devastation, news channels also showed us resilience and positive vibe that the people of Kerala have.
As an ode to the state of Kerala and its people, for this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, us food bloggers are cooking recipes from Kerala.
This month i was paired with Anu Kollon from Ente Thattukada and she gave me coconut and raw banana as my secret ingredients. This gave me the perfect opportunity to make the traditional Vazhakka Thoran.
My quest to make a very traditional dish using coconut and raw banana led me to my neighbour’s (Aruni’s) house. After chatting with her on various recipes like kallan or erissery, i decided to make a simple dry raw banana preparation to go with rice last week.
Did you know this about Banana??
Did you know the banana plant might be the only plant where almost all parts of the plant get used and nothing goes waste?? Let me write how 🙂
- Banana plant Stem / trunk – Also known as Vazhai thandu in tamil, this part of the plant is used in south indian cuisine to make a raita or a dry sabzi.
- Banana leaves – The leaves which are large and water proof, are very commonly used as plates to serve food in marriages or family functions. It is also used to make eco-friendly containers in India.
- Banana flower – In south India this part of the plant is used as a vegetable to make dry sabzis or even tasty vadas (fried lentil fritters).
- Raw banana – Raw banana is very versatile and can be used in curries / sabzis as a vegetable or gets used to make some yummy chips.
- Ripe banana – What can i say, that you dont know, in Banana cake, in fried bananas or had just as a fruit, so many options to eat these.
Coming back to the recipe, I made the Vazhakka Thoran as an accompaniment to sambar/rasam rice for lunch, but it can also be served with mixed rice varieties or rotis.
More recipes using Raw Banana / Vazhakka:
- Gujarati Undhiyu
- Vazhapoo Parappu Usili ( Banana flower and coconut dry sabzi)
Mixed rice varieties:
- Mango Rice
- Mustard & Coconut Mixed Rice
Vazhakka Thoran | Kerala style raw banana stir fry
Remove the skin from raw banana and chop them into small cubes (add them to a bowl of water so that they don't oxidize and turn black)
Heat 1.5 cups of water in a medium sized wok / kadhai and add the chopped bananas to it
Add some salt and turmeric powder and cover it for 5 - 7 minutes
Once the raw bananas is par cooked ( almost 90% cooked), remove from heat, drain the water and set aside the cooked bananas in a plate
Grind / pulse the ingredients given to a rough paste and set aside
Heat oil in a kadhai / wok, add mustard leaves, curry leaves.
Once the mustard splutters, add the ground mixture and raw bananas and mix well
Cook for a couple of minutes and remove form heat
Serve with hot rice and rasam or with rotis
This traditional and authentic Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya from Karnataka, was taught to me by my help. This recipe calls for multiple steps but the end result is so tasty and highly nutritious.
Life with Ragi
I got married in 2003 and have been in Bangalore ever since. Before i write about anything else let me give you some details of the land : Karnataka that i call home. Karnataka formerly known as Mysore state was formed on November 1, 1956. The state has something for every person. It has a rich culture, has beaches, dense forests, hills and exciting cities. Other than rice, the staple for the people of Karnataka includes Ragi (finger millet). Ragi is also used in making ragi mudde, ragi kunji, laddoos and even cakes these days
Ragi kunji was a staple while growing up, but ragi mudde was a totally new food concept for me. I mean, one is supposed to gulp the ragi mudde with saaru and not bite into it?? How is that possible?? Having said that it is all about practice and we are getting there. For the past few years, our saturday lunch has been more or less the same, Ragi mudde with Saaru, many a times we have also switched the saaru with tamil style sambar or even dal. My help Nanjamma always says “ragi thin beku sakthi barum”, which translates to “eating ragi gives one strength”.
Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya – how to make it ??
Recently my help showed us a very different variation of saaru, Bassaru. Bassaaru also roughly translates to “drained saaru” or “drained sambar or rasam”. This saaru is the perfect accompaniment to Ragi Mudde (finger millet flour balls). Bassaaru can be made with dill leaves, spinach leaves and averekkai also. For this recipe i have made Bassaaru with dill leaves and toor dal. This recipe has a series of steps and within those steps there is a lot of interlinking steps..sounds confusing isnt it but the end product is so good that the effort is all worth it.
For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, us food bloggers are cooking recipes from Karnataka. This month i was paired with Amrita Iyer from The Food Samaritan and she gave me dill leaves and toor dal as my secret ingredients. This gave me the perfect opportunity to make Bassaaru and sabakki soppu pallaya.
Couple of other posts that you might like to read:
1) Homemade Sambar Powder Recipe: South Indian style
2) Dantin Soppu (Greens with coconut)
Ragi Mudde with Bassaru
Making the dal
In a pressure cooker, add dill leaves, salt, some green chillies with 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles (here we ensure that the dal / lentil is just cooked and does not get mashed completely
Once the pressure is released, drain just the liquid part of the dal mix into a different utensil and let it cool. Remove the dry dill leaves & undercooked dal into another vessel
Making the ground mixture
Heat some oil in a kadhai and add jeera, garlic, oinions and little salt. Saute on low flame.
Add sambar powder, jeera powder, coriander powder and chiili powder and mix gently
To this add cinnamon, cloves, half of the coconut and tamarind paste and mix well
Add corinader leaves to this mixture and remove from flame / gas and let the mixture cool
Once cooled, grind the mixture into a smooth paste
Portion into 3/4th and 1/4th quantities in two separate bowls
Heat oil in a kadhai, add mustard seeds and let it splutter
To this, add jeera, garlic, hing, curry leaves, dried red chillies, onions and sautee till the onions turn pink and soft.
Remove from flame / gas and let this cool
Divide this into two portions
Making the Bassaaru
To the liquid portion of the dal which we have separated, add one portion of the tempering and mix well
To this liquid dal mix add 3/4th of the coconut groun mixture and bring the entire concoction to a boil
Simmer for a couple of minutes and transfer to the serving bowl
Making the dill leaves dry dal
In a kadhai, to the remaining tempering add the 1/4th ground mixture and mix well
To the above mixture add the dry dill leaves and undercooked dal and mix well. Garnish with the remaining grated coconut
.Check the salt in both the dry and the liquid dal and then serve as below
In a plate, keep the ragi mudde in the centre, serve the liquid dal on one side and add the dry dill leaves - dall mix to another side
Take a piece of the soft ragi mudde, dip it into the bassaaru ( liquid dal), take a small portion of dry dal mix and eat
Our friends Anu and Jaimon have a small farm, where they grow vegetables like brinjal, pumpkin, beans, green tomatoes and more….. such fresh vegetables…i think i could eat them raw :-)….so when i visited them last week, i plucked green tomatoes and brinjal… (never thought i would pluck vegetables in a city 🙂 )
So here goes…. Green tomato kootu with coconut and dhal
Green Tomatoes Kootu
Pressure cook dhal in a cooker till well done.
Dice the tomatoes in med size pieces and set aside.
Heat oil in a kadai and 1 tsp each of the seasonings mentioned.
Once the mustard has spluttered and the channa dal is light brown in colour,add the diced tomatoes.
Add salt and mix the tomatoes nicely in the kadai and let it cook (cook till they are about 90% cooked).
Grind the ingredients as mentioned above to a nice paste and add to the kadai.
Mash the cooked dhal to a paste and add to the kadai with tomatoes and ground mixture.
Cook on low flame for a minute or till the tomatoes are cooked completely.
Check the salt and add if required...according to taste.
Serve hot with steamed rice
A popular Gujarati main course consisting of a vegetable (undhiyu)…served with sev and jalebis… This is usually made only during the winters because a particular ingredient” Ratallu (purple yam)” is available only during this time of the year…
It is made in different ways..here is the way that i usually make it.
For fresh Masala / marinate
All the vegetables should be cut into chunks as shown in the picture. The bananas can be cut with with the skin on...
Remove seeds from 3/4 of the papdi and let the rest be as it is...
Mix all the veggies from 1 and 2 and set aside in a big vessel.
Grind together the ingredients for the masala / marinate...
Mix the ground masala and the vegetables nicely so that the freshly ground masala coats each vegetable. Set aside for atleast 1/2 hour... (Excl the tomatoes)
Take a big kadai. heat vegetable oil in it...
Add the marinated vegetables, salt and cook till all the vegetables are cooked and the raw smell of the ground mixture goes away...
Add the cut tomatoes on top of this cooked veggies and close the veggies with a lid and let it simmer on low flame for 2-3 mins...
Serve hot with thin sev and corriander leaves as a garnish..
Serve with hot jalebis and rice / hot rotis...
This is my entry for Mythillis: RCI-Gujarat Cuisine
The Arusuvai Friendship Chain has been inspired by the Amish Friendship Bread starter chain doing the rounds outside of India. This chain is all about sending along a a surprise gift to your friends for them to prepare something tasty with it, share the recipe and pass on the surprise ingredient to other people..
As a gift, Kajal sent across to me a packet of Besan or Gram Flour…there were so many things that i could have made with besan, but i decided to make something which i have never tried before..one of my favourite Gujarati snack..” Khandvi”
Khandvi (Arusuvai Friendship Chain)
Mix besan, buttermilk and salt in a bowl and Micro Med for 4 mins.
Add turmeric powder, ginger - chilli paste and Micro High for 5 mins.
Remove from the microwave and spread immediately on a greased surface in a thin layer ( i used the back of a big plate, greased it and spread the besan mixture on it).
When set cut into strips and roll. Arrange the rolls in a serving dish.
Place all the ingredients for tempering in a bowl, Micro High for 1.5 mins and pour over the khandvi.
Garnish with chopped corriander and grated coconut...
As a part of continuing this chain.. i will be sending across a secret ingredient to Archana
Saraswati pooja is celebrated on the 9th day of navaratri. Goddess saraswati is the presiding deity of the spoken word. Mounting on her swan, she plays on Kachchapi, her veena and is worshipped as the presiding deity of knowledge… To know a little more visit here …
This Saraswati pooja i made Suhiyan for neivedyam / prasadam
This is my entry for Vcuisine’s RCI-Tamil Festivals …
Suhiyan for Saraswati Pooja
Soak the urad dal for 3-4 hours in water.
Grind the urad dal in a processor or mixie with salt. The consistency should be a little thinner than what we grind for ulundu vadai (urad dal vadai)
Powder the jaggery and set aside...
Heat a kadai, add little water (1-3 tsp) and add the jaggery to it. Dissolve the jaggery in the water.
Once the jaggery starts frothing add the coconut and keep stirring on slow flame...
Cook till all the water is absorbed and the mixture thickens (if the mixture is rolled in the palm of the hands, one should be able to make small balls out of it). Add cardamom powder and keep aside...
Make small balls of the coconut mixture.
Dip the coconut balls in the urad dal mixture and fry them in oil
A couple of days back i purchased frozen green chick peas and decided to create a preperation to eat with rotis… traditionally the green / dried dark brown chick peas have been used in south India for ‘chundal’ purposes..so this was something completely my experiment
Hare channe ka Kurma
Cook the green chick peas seperately in a kadai or microwave.
Take a kadai and heat oil and add the jeera, dhania seeds and saunf and saute ...
Add the onions, red chillies, some salt and saute.
Once the onions are light brown in colour, add grated coconut and saute till the whole misture is medium brown in colour...
In the kadai, now add the cooked chick peas, turmeric powder, salt and cook for another 5 more minutes
Add finely diced tomatoes and let it simmer with a lid on top of the kadai till the tomatoes get cooked..(ensure that the tomatoes do not get squashed while turning the curry)
Garnish and serve with rotis...
Being a foodie, i love to learn and make different preperations made across the country. This particular mixed rice is “Sasve Kai Chitranna” and is a coconut rice variety made in Karnataka… Here ‘Sasve’ means ‘mustard seeds/kadugu’, ‘Kai’ means ‘coconut’ and ‘Chitranna means ‘mixed rice’. So this is a recipe with coconut and mustard seeds as the main ingredients and since it is a chitranna, the time involved in making this is less than 15 minutes
My entry for Sunita’s Think Spice…Think (Mustard) and RCI-Karnataka
Sasve Kai Chitranna (Mustard & Coconut Mixed rice)
Cook rice in such a way that the grains are seperats and keep aside.
In a food processor mix coconut, hing, mustard and red chillies and grind till a paste is formed. (If required, add a little water while grinding)
Take a kadai, heat oil and add peanuts and fry them till they are light brown in colour or till they loose their raw taste.
Add the coconut paste mixture and fry thim till the paste is cooked and becomes light brown in colour.
Add the rice, salt and mix well and serve hot...
The coconut paste mixture can be also served with dosai or idli. The mustard in the mixture gives it a really good flavour...