I am going to be sharing recipe for two special dishes. These are very typical Tam-Bram food from the Trinelveli belt of Tamilnadu. Our Sunday lunch was Vazhapoo Porichakuzhambu ( Banana Flower Gravy), Ammanji Karai ( a sour sauce or dip with Tender Mango Pickle , also called Araichoo Kalakki), Broad Beans Curry, Lemon Rasam, Roasted Urad Papad and a small serving of Mango Pickle. To add to this spread, we made a delicious creamy Nutri Kheer from Pait Pooja ( My friend, Shivangi Nadkarni’s mother makes these products – Delicious !)
The lunch was just outstanding! Three Cheers to my mother!
Banana Flower is used only in certain parts of India and some very delicious preparations are made with this odd looking, even more odd tasting vegetable. We normally make Vazhapoo Parupusilli ( Banana Flower with Dal) . The Porichakuzhambu literally translates to “fried gravy” but there is hardly any Frying or Oil in this preparation. I wonder why this name???
Both Pictures sourced from Internet
Banana Flower – 1 ( Floret cleaned and cut finely)
Toor Dal/Arhar Dal – Cooked – 2 cups
Coconut – Grated 3 table spoon
Red Chillies – Dry roasted – 4
Peppercorns – One Tablespoon ( we like it hot)
Jeera /Cumin- One Table Spoon
Turmeric Powder – two Pinches
Curry Leaves – a Handful
Gingelly Oil/Sesame Oil – One teaspoon ( for seasoning only)
Mustard – One Teaspoon
Urad Dhal Split – One Tea Spoon
Asaefotida Powder – Two Pinches
Salt – To your Taste
The major task in this dish is the cleaning of the Banana Flower. The Florets need to be removed from the well protected purple sheaths. The longish Stamen needs to be removed and the plasticky outer transparent sheath to be knocked out. The Florets need to cut finely. Drop them in a water bowl with a squeeze of lemon. If you leave in the open, they tend to turn black.
Transfer the washed cut florets into a vessel, add two pinches of Turmeric powder, a pinch of salt, water till it submerges and place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Let it for three whistles. For this dish, it can get mashed well. Do not discard the water.
Pressure cook the Toor Dal , mash it up and leave it ready for adding to the Kuzhambu.
Transfer the cooked banana flower to a thick bottomed vessel with the water, keep it on the stove at medium flame, allow it to come to a boil. Add the Mashed Dal to the boiling well cooked Banana flower mixture. In the meantime, soft grind coconut + roasted chilly + Pepper + Jeera with little water. Add this fine paste to the boiling gravy , Add water to make the consistency goey ( not too thick, neither runny) . Lower the flame and allow it to brew a bit and come together. Add some fresh curry leaves ( cut with hands). Sprinkle Asaefoetida Powder ( Perungayam) and stir it well
Prepare the seasoning with little oil. When hot add the mustard, allow it to splutter, add the urad dhal and as the dhal turns slightly red , drop this on the Kuzhambu. Remove the Kozhambu from the flame .
Best served with hot steamed rice!
( The Banana Flower can be slightly bitter , check the taste before you add the Toor Dhal. The final dish also has a slight tinge of bitterness and that’s the speciality)
This is a funny recipe to write about. “Ammanji” actually means cousin ( specifically maternal uncle’s Son). I would like to believe that this recipe was created on request of some Nephew, some centuries back! God Bless this Nephew! Many homes also call it “Arachu Kalaki” meaning “Grind and Mix”.
Picture Sourced from Internet
This side dish is a perfect match to the Vazhapoo Porichakuzhambu. Sour, Chatpata, Salty, Mustardly and in all an explosion of flavours in one drop. This Dish is prepared with the tender mangoes retrieved from the miracle waters of the Tender Mango Pickle. This Pickle is prepared with Mustard, Salt and Chillies mixed with baby mangoes. The salt tends to leave water over time and these mangoes soak in the flavour pool for months and years.
Tender Mangoes – 6-8 numbers
Coconut – grated two tablespoons
Green Chilly – three
Curds – two cups
Coconut Oil – half teaspoon
Mustard- One teaspoon
Grind the Tender Mangoes, Coconut, Green chillies to a smooth paste with little water. Do not use the Tender Mango Pickle water. Beat the curds to a smooth consistency and add this ground paste. Give it a good mix and add little water to balance the consistency. Season with Mustard seeds and Coconut Oil.
This brand of “Ready to Cook” food has an amazing range of traditional foods. Some of these recipes are given a modern twist too. We tried the Nutri Kheer and totally loved the creamy kheer with the right balance of Sugar.
Contact Pait Pooja @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Food is Good! Life is Good ! What you say???