Thursday, 20 May 2010

Vazhaipoo kola urundai / Arati puvvu vada


Vazhaipoo kola urundai is one of my favourite dish .  Plantain flowers not only look very beautiful but they are very tasty too.  Each and every part of banana plant is used in cooking. Since there are lots of plantain farms near my home we get these infloresence more often. When I come from school I can easily say whether there is plantain infloresence (Infloresence is the collection of banana flowers and it looks like as shown in the first picture of the collage)  in my home just by the smell of it. If you keep the plantain infloresence in your kitchen the entire kitchen smells very good. It is not like the usual  sweet scent of most flowers. It is different  (like the raw plantain smell, but more stronger ) and somehow the smell of these flowers stimulates my apetite. 

My dad and myself are big fans for these plantain flowers. My dad had many sweet memories associated with this. He used to remember his granpa more often. He would say that his granpa is such a nice and kind human being who is very fond of his grandchildren. When he goes to the plantain farm he used to bring these flowers for his grandchildren. The reason is, you can find honey dew within each banana flower and that nectar  tastes very sweet and refreshing. You should taste them....wow!!! They are one of my childhood favourites. When the plantain flowers are fresh and brought direct from the farm and most importantly in the early morning, you can find a drop of jelly-like, nectar inside each mature flower. My dad used to remember how his grandpa used to come from the farm with these banana infloresence hanging arond his neck, tied together by a rope and with a broad smile in his face. The grandchildren will be eagerly waiting for his arrival. The liquid which oozes out from the parts of plantain plant produces a nasty stain in the clothes. But his grandpa never cared about that. Still my great grandad's white shirts with banana stain is lying in my home. My dad kept them as a treasure and used to wear them during his granddads death anniversary every year, for sometime. That gave him  a kind of satisfaction. My great granddad's sole aim was to see the happy smile of his grandchildren when he brings them something to eat and I must say that my dad came from a very poor family and the children rarely had any rich snacks. When my dad explains all this I loved to see the light in his eyes. He will be deeply involved in his chilhood memories of his grandad and the enjoyment they had with these flowers when they are young. I am sure those lovely memories made him to teach me and my sister about these banana nectar and where to look for them :).

How to clean the banana flower :
The first picture of the collage shows the banana infloresence. Each bunch of banana flowers are covered by the purple coloured bract. Remove each bract you will find the slim, nectar-rich, tubular, toothed, white flowers. They are shown in the second picture of collage. I should confess that I never get a fresh plantain flower from the shops here. That is why you see a black area in the flowers. They are not spoiled but they have become black as a result of long storage and exposure to air. Now see the third and the fourth picture of collage. They demonstrate you which parts of the flowers are non-edible and has to be removed. The parts that has to be removed are too thick so they cannot be used in cooking. The fifth picture shows  the  immature infloresence you will find when you remove  a few layers of outer bracts and flowers. Just peel the banana infloresence layer by layer and you will find this immature collection of flowers at the center. They taste very, very, very yummy. When my mom is peeling the infloresence and collecting the flowers I will be eagerly waiting for this. You can just eat them raw :). The sixth picture of the collage shows the collection of flowers after removing the two non-needed parts. Now everything is ready for preparing the recipe. The more mature flowers will be on the outer layer of the infloresence and they become the banana or plantain in future and the lesser mature ones are more inside. When you buy a banana flower seperate the flowers into very mature and less mature ones. More mature flowers can be used for making this dish and the less mature ones and the beautiful immature infloresence in the fifth picture of the collage (if at all it is left without being eaten by you or your children) can be used for making yummy pulikuzhambu. This link has the best pictures please have a look.

Banana flower is rich in fiber. It is considered as an excellent remedy for painful mensturation and other menstural irregularities. It is thought to be good for lactating mothers. Beleive me this is very tasty too :).




Ingredients :

Banana flower (cleaned and chopped finely, mature ones on the top of the infloresence)- 1 cup
Fried bengal gram dhal / pottukadalai- 1/2 cup
Onions- 1/2 or 4 shallots
Coconut meat- 2 one inch pieces
Fennel seeds- 1 tspn
Pepper corns- 1 tspn
Dried red chillies- 5 nos (adjust according to your taste)
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
Garlic-2 pods
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

Method :

Use the mature flowers of banana blossom or infloresence for this recipe. Remove the non-wanted parts from the individual banana flowers as shown in picture. Then cut them into small pieces and soak them in buttermilk. Now slice the coconut pieces. In a food processor grind together the banana flowers, fried gram dhal, fennel seeds, pepper corns, coconut pieces, dried red chillies, ginger and garlic with enough salt. The ground batter should be similar to vada batter. Now make small balls of the batter and fry them in hot oil. Repeat this process in batches. Very, very tasty kola urundai is ready to be relished.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Selection of banana blossom or infloresence is very important. Look at the first picture of the collage. The blossom should have a red colour at the bottom. Then you can be sure that this blossom tastes good without the bitter taste. There are many varieties of banana and only the flowers from some banana varieties (country variety banana blossoms) taste good without the bitter taste. The removing of the unwanted parts from the flowers is a long job but be patient the final product will make you happy.  The unwanted parts has to be removed only from the mature flower and in the immature, little flowers they pose no problem since they are soft and edible. The liquid oozing from the banana blossom creates nasty stain on clothes and even in your hand. Take care not to bring them in contact with the clothes and apply oil in your hand to prevent staining of your hands when processing the flowers for cooking. Soak the cut flowers in buttermilk. This helps in preventing the unpleasant, black colour that they acquire when they are exposed to air. Do not forget fennel seeds and pepper corns. They add zest to the dish. If the batter has become thinner and watery add corn flour or rice flour to make it thicker. These kola urundai make excellent snacks for young children and adults. They taste yummy with 'pappu sadham' too. Happy cooking !!!

34 comments:

  1. they look so perfect. love the texture

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  2. I have never eaten than Banana flower before, Bondas looks so yummy.

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  3. WOW Manju, these fritters looks super delicious..love to hv some now...yummy...will see if I get this banana flower here in any asian grocery store...will love to try this one...gr8...thanks for sharing this Manju...tk care!

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  4. Very nice snack but havent tried banana flower till now, loved reading abt your memories with it.. i really feel like trying it now...nice recipe manju,thanks for sharing

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  5. Manju,

    Vazhaipoo Kolaurundai looks really beautiful. It is crispy and looks tasty.

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  6. Ohh Manju, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I could visualize your great grandpa returning from farm with bunch of flowers. Completely new dish to me. I'll definitely look for flowers here, hope I'll get them.

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  7. super delicious....love step by step pics always....thanks for the useful info on banana flower..

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  8. That's a great post relating to plantain flower, useful tips and the urundai came out yummy and perfect....

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  9. we bengalis eat a lot of banana flower and also have a similar recipe called mocha'r chop. looks wonderful...perfect for rainy day evening snack.

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  10. manju da nice write up.lots of memories..the vazhaipoo is really healthy one.i used to prepare the thoran.but this balls sound interesting..will try it sometime..good ine manju.really liked it.

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  11. Crispy kola urundais makes me nostalgic, my mom used to prepare these sort of urundais with elephant yam, my favourite..Manju thats so nice of u, yea wat to do, everyone here love spring while i dislike this season..

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  12. Manju, this is such a lovely post...I too have tasted the nectar inside vazhaipoo..I haven't prepared this kola but mom used to make..I'l try this some time dear..thanks for sharing..

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  13. Perfect kola urundai looks crisp and yum

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  14. My mommy twists every possible veggie into kola urundai, and I really love her recipes. This look much like one' reminds my home...sure, its yum and crisp. Loved your nostalgic memoirs...I can understand ur Papa's feeling towards the flower + his grand Dad.

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  15. Kola urundai looks yumm yumm,i'm going to buy some for this weekend.Nice tips and instructions Manju,thank you:-)

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  16. Never heard of Kola urundai..Looks healthy and yummy..I am also a big fan of plantain flowers :)

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  17. Great post Manju..it was nice reading about all your find memories :) Actually I was searching for a vegetarian kola orundai recipe for my hubby....thanks for sharing this..I am definitively going to try it this weekend...looks really good and crispy :)

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  18. இதுவரை வாழைப்பூவில் உள்ள தேனினை சுவைத்தது இல்லை..அடுத்த முறை வாங்கும் பொழுது பார்க்கிறேன்...சூப்பர்ப்...உருண்டை மிகவும் அருமையாக இருக்கின்றது...

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  19. Nice post and this looks so gud..perfectly fried...pity I never tasted :(

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  20. Hey kudos to ur Patience da. I dunno if I would have been so patient enough to share all those intricate steps involved in cooking banana flower.
    Great job da .. not many people know how to use it and u really explained so well ...

    As I said earlier, your blog has this speciality da.. step by step picture, taste enhancing tips .. that makes u different from others and u just rock ...

    Loved those urundais, though I have never tasted one am sure by the look of it , it will taste awesome

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  21. Hey thats so nice of you...i can understand those feelings of ur father..really those villages and those recipes and those days are really memorable..i liked ur post a lot and that gr8 thoughts of sharing it with us... this recipe is too good and looking crispy and worth trying too...
    I know the taste of it and worth to spare that time for cleaning it...:)

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  22. My mom makes kootu and poriyal, MIL prepares Usili and Vadai with this...I have tried few times at home,but lazy to clean the flowers as it takes some time..
    I was visualizing about your gr8grandpa while reading your story.

    I too enjoy the middle part of flower as raw.Kola Urundai is awesome....

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  23. Manju,,,vazhaipoo urundai super ah vanthurukku perfect shape nalla spicy ah yummy ah irukkum ennala antha taste ah feel panna mudiuthu paa,,ungalukku vazhaipoo ellam kidaikkumaa anga inga kidaikarathilla paa enakku vazhaipoo vadai na rombha pidikkum.

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  24. Very nice recipe :) Traditional too :)

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  25. Kola Urundai looks yummy and I like to taste, but never tried...because of the cleaning process and the work.

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  26. I am also a great fan of plantain flower and I prepare dishes with it every week even though it is a time consuming job to clean it .But I have not tried this kola urundai .Eager to try this. Btw I love your blog very much

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  27. hello akka, thakkudu vanthurukku unga aathukku!!!...;)

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  28. perfect looking kola urundais, love 2 have that

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  29. Hey Manju,
    Looks delicious,I have never tried this bonda.
    My mom used to make curry, kootu & kozhambu of vazhai poo.
    I am gonna try this one soon at home.
    -Vidhya

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  30. Kola urunadai with valaipoo makes me hungry. Wow! what a post dear. Those memories behind makes me nostalgic:) A very blessed family to have such a great loving people dear. Very nice recipe and beautiful pictures too dear.

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  31. Thank you friends :)

    Sayantani nice to know that bengalis too use it :)

    Thakkudu welcome, welcome !!! Vada ambi nannairukiyo ? :)

    Thank you very much friends for all the nice words :)

    Vidhya thanks a lot but can I know ur husbands name :) I know 3 or 4 vidhyas :)

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  32. //Vidhya thanks a lot but can I know ur husbands name :) I know 3 or 4 vidhyas//

    Akka, i also know 8 to 14 vidhyas...:) (jst kdng)

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