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Friday, March 13, 2015

Vaazhai thandu koottu (plantain tree trunk stir fry)

I have a long list of favorite veggies. One among them is the banana tree trunk (Vaalai thandu) , which we used to consume in many forms in my father's place. As we had many plantain trees and small kitchen garden in our backyard at that time,  we used to get our regular supply of few produce from our own garden :) This is a rare vegetable in anywhere other than South India, it seems.

Luckily I saw this vegetable in a nearby Indian grocery store in NJ recently and I grabbed a small piece for $1.12 . I prepared a koottu with this banana stem and we both enjoyed every scoop of this:)


Banana stem koottu in a pretty bowl presented by my precious friend. She is the one who inspires me to photograph more beautifully and I'm working on it  :) Hugs Paaru, thanks !

vaazhai thandu in  a package

After removing the loose barks.

slice the vaazhai thandu and keep immersed in buttermilk.

cook paasi paruppu separately.

Stir the chopped banana stem using a wooden stick and we will see all the fibers sticking to the stick.

Repeat for 3-4 times and remove all big size fibers.

Cook the chopped banana stem with cooked pasiparuppu for 10 minutes and do the tempering.

Vaazhai thandu koottu is ready !


Ingredients:
Banana stem (vaazhai thandu) - 1/2 ft length.
green gram lentil (paasi paruppu) - 2 tbsp
coconut oil - 1 tbsp
shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
mustard - 1/2 tsp
urid dal - 1/2 tsp
chopped onion - 3 tbsp
chopped green chilly - 1
curry leaf - 1 sprig
salt - as per need

How to clean vaazhai thandu ?
Peel off the loose skin of banana stick (vaazhai mattai).
Cut it into thin rounds (see picture above). Mean time, remove the fibers that spring out.
Prepare thin buttermilk by adding enough water to 2 tsp curd.
Then chop it into squares and keep them immersed in buttermilk (to prevent oxidation).
Using a skewer or curry leaf stick, stir this chopped pieces and you will notice some fibers sticking to the skewer.Remove that.
Now our banana stem is perfectly cleaned and good enough for cooking.

Method:
In a cooking pan, add 1  cup water and cook the rinsed greengram lentil until 3/4 th done.
Then add the chopped cleaned plantain stem and cook covered for 10 minutes.
Add enough salt.
Finely chop onion, green chilly, curry leaf.
Heat oil in another pan. Add mustard and urid dal.
Let mustard splutter, then add chopped onion, green chilly, curry leaf.
Fry till onion turns soft.
Pour over cooked vegetable.
Cook till the curry gets thicker. Add shredded coconut and cumin.
Mix well and switch off.
Vaazhai thandu koottu is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve along with sambar rice or any rice.

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