Banana Stem Poriyal
When I was in my 3rd grade, we moved into a rented house to enable the renovation of our current home facing the lake. This area was predominantly inhabited by Tamil Brahmin community. Strong seasoning flavours of asafoetida and other spices would engulf the air every lunch hour and lies etched in my memories even today. We had an old "Maami" living upstairs, who would dry spices in peak summers, prepare appalams , murukkus and the likes every summer to welcome her grandkids home. As kiddo in the area, I was often welcomed into her house for Dussera, Diwali and to play with the other kids, while been treated to snacks.
One of the recipes that Mother learnt from her was how to cook Banana steam and Banana flowers.
Now not many people normally consume or know how to cook Banana stem. But this is one highly nutritious ingredient. Banana stem is a rich source of fibre and helps in weight loss. Its high fibre content creates a feeling of satiation and hence, reduces the intake of food. It also helps ease constipation. Banana stem is rich in potassium and vitamin B6 just like the fruit.
Always look for a thick in diameter, fresh banana stem which isn't darkened. You will need to peel out the outer layers and use only the inner, slightly fibrous core. Once you chop them up, allow it to soak in water for about 10minutes or so, to stop further discolouration.
The original recipe as shared by Maami had toor dal in it as the lentil, but to make this light and as a go-to sabzi with phulkas, we prepare it with Moong dal. Also, there is no tadka to this mixture. Simple spices and pressure cooked banana stem is all you need for a light nutritious poriyal.
2 cups - Banana stem, finely diced and soaked in water
1/2 cup - Moong dal
1 - medium-size onion, chopped
3 - green chillies, chopped
5 - Garlic pods, chopped
5 tbsp - Freshly grated coconut
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
4 tbsp - Oil
Salt to taste.
1. Cook the Moong dal by boiling it in sufficient water and set aside. Do not throw away the excess water which is left after cooking the dal completely, as we would be using it.
2. In a pressure cooker, heat oil, fry onions, green chillies and garlic on high flame until the colour changes.
3. Next add the diced Banana stem, turmeric powder, salt to taste and fry them for 4-5 minutes on a medium simmer.
4. You can either add excess water/stock obtained from the cooking of Moong dal or add sufficient plain water to cook the banana stem and pressure cook for 3 whistles on a low flame.
5. Once, the cooker is de-pressurised, add your cooked moong dal to the above mixture and cook this on a low flame to ensure the required consistency is reached. It should not be too watery neither should it be a super dry mixture. Check for salt level and adjust basis preference.
6. Add grated coconut and give it a good stir. Continue cooking for another 6-7 minutes and dish out hot.