Plantain(Banana) Flower Kootu

We have a saying back home that if a house has a Banana plant, a neem plant and a cow, their food needs are almost fulfilled. Almost all parts of the banana plant can be used in cooking- the flower, the green plantain, yellow bananas and the banana stem. The banana leaf is used to serve food. Neem tree purifies the air and cow provides milk through which milk products like Ghee, Yogurt and Cheese are made. What more do you want?

If you ask me what else I need, I’d say another 4 pair of hands. Just to clean the banana flower and to pick out the necessary parts to cook. But the taste of banana flower is worth all the trouble. It is rare to find a banana flower here but I guess due to the freeze conditions, the Indian grocery shops have got a lot of fresh banana flowers. When I saw this post by Linda during our recipe marathon, I wanted the banana stem kootu. I almost shouted in joy when I saw them last week and quickly grabbed one to make this kootu and a vadai(lentil donuts).

Plantain flower or the stem is good for health, especially women, it helps in regulating the cycles and also in fertility. If possible, cooking either the stem or the flower once a month will give good results.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-4)

Banana flower(small)- one flower
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp
Sambar powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Cooked Chana dal or Tuvar dal- 1 cup

To grind to a powder/paste:
Red Chilies- 4
Coconut- 5 tbsp
Chana dal- 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds- 3 tbsp

For Tempering:
Oil- 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal- 1/2 tsp
Chana dal- 1/2 tsp
Red Chilies-2
Curry leaves- few
Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp

Method:

Toast the ingredients given under the section to powder. Cool and grind to a fine powder.

Cleaning the flower and removing the unwanted parts is the important step in cooking banana flower.

Peel just one outer layer if it looks too soggy. Start from the firm layer. When you peel one layer, you can see a line of small, match stick shaped mini flowers. Just take them out. This is what we have to use to make the kootu.

Keep repeating this steps, peel a layer and collect the match sticks shapes. When the layers become so dense and cone like and you cannot peel anymore, stop peeling. You can chop and use the remaining cone.

Once you have collected a bunch of those stick shapes, slightly squeeze each one(yes, you have to do this one by one). You will see a thick black head out of the bunch of fine strands inside the stick like structure.

Pull out the entire head(it is very light and easy). These black heads should be removed as any recipe will be bitter if they are used as it is. Discard these black heads.

Now proceed to chopping the stick structures (without the black heads). Mix a pinch of salt with turmeric powder in a cup of water and keep it handy. As soon as you chop the flowers, quickly transfer them to this bowl. This way the flowers won’t turn black in color. Proceed to chop the remaining flowers and transfer them to the bowl.

Once you have chopped the required amount, rinse the chopped flowers well with plain water. Place them in another bowl, add salt to taste, a pinch of turmeric powder, sambar powder and pressure cook it for one whistle.

Once it has cooled, drain the blackish water that the flower has cooked in (water given out during cooking).

Heat oil in a pot and add asafoetida and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add chana dal, urad dal, red chilies and curry leaves. Mash the cooked dal with a cup of water and the ground spice powder and add it to this pot. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes. Now, add the boiled banana flower petals and let it simmer for another 7-10 minutes.

Once it all comes together and is thick, switch off, check for salt. Serve hot with rice. You will be hooked on to the taste once you make it. As usual, my favorite way to eat this kootu is with rasam. May be I should change my name to rasa priya 😀

Notes:

Some banana flowers will be bitter in nature even after removing the black heads. We can’t help it.

Make sure that you have a paper towel or a plate to hold the flowers when you peel them. The liquid inside can leave a mark on the carpet of even on the clothes if you wipe your hands on them.

You can also apply some oil on your palms when separating these flowers.

While one side of my plate is spicy, the other end is sweet. I am reposting an entry, sweet flour lamps for Sugar High Friday #61, thanks for accepting the late entry. That was so sweet of you :)

These lamps made out of flour and ghee (clarified butter) are traditional in South India and are often made on a Friday as an offering to Gods.

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the attachments to this post:

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What-to-pluck

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SIngle-Petals

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Full-Plantain-Flower


20 Comments to “Plantain(Banana) Flower Kootu”

  1. Asha says:

    Looks so delcious. I have never seen those Banana stem or flower here and never cooked with those. Loved banana trees at home, those memories never fade away. I miss India somuch as I get older! :)
    It will be 57F tomorrow here and then Tada….snow on friday! Yikes!!!

  2. Looks yumm…have never had it though:) I saw mile sur mera tumhara…hmmm… I like the original one better than this new one.

  3. indosungod says:

    This kootu is delicious I bet. I see them all the time at the international market but lacking 4 hands 😉 I buy them once in a blue moon.

  4. Rujuta says:

    Hi

    Very nice recipe and clicks are great too…. All the efforts and hard work gone in preparation must be worth it…..

  5. it looks delicious,recipe is really nice, have never tasted this banana flower till now…

  6. Cham says:

    I get all year long but easily make out they are not fresh ! When they rest for longer in grocery store, the flower is bitter!
    I like kootu, poriyal and the vada! LOL, 4 hands ?

  7. Asha says:

    R, I could watch one movie a day if I can help it!! Hahaha! But reading books take a long time. I am one of those kind, if I pick up the book, will not put down until I am done. But with chores and kids, it’s impossible these day, got to read chapter by chapter everyday which I don’t like but don’t have choice.
    Crackers, I made those when I was on break, only bread I baked last week. Shhhh..!! ;D

  8. Usha says:

    Looks delicious, haven’t had this in a long while !

  9. Preety says:

    i never tried palintain in my cooking..your recipe sounds interesting

  10. Sheetal says:

    LOL … Rasa Priya it is from today 😉 I love the taste of banana flowers too, we make a stir-fried version that goes really well with phulkas. But, I think in this cold weather, nothing could be better than this kootu over warm steamed-rice … ahhh.

  11. PJ says:

    Ruchika, this is such a nice and new recipe! Very good info about banana flower.. I don’t know though if I’ll find this anywhere nearby. Great post!

  12. Pari says:

    Hi. Thanks for the detailed explanation, it has helped me. Now I know atleast how to clean a banana flower. will pick up this in my next grocery shopping. Can you tell me about the stem too..I have seen that in the market and would love to use it.
    will try this kootu once I get the flower.

  13. Priya says:

    My fav kootu, my most fav is vadai with banana flowers…dunno its kinda hard to find fresh banana flowers here now, am going around to get some fresh ones nowadays..

  14. Lubna Karim says:

    Yet to taste banana flower…..recipe looks yummy and rich…..lamp looks cute…

  15. Joanne says:

    Sadly, I have never even seen the plantain flower in stores here. I will have to keep my eyes open for it though because this recipe looks too good to pass up!

  16. Malar Gandhi says:

    I really like this kootu so much, but very rarely I do spot them at korean market here:( Looks perfect:)

  17. Hi Ruchika, thanks for dropping by… my first visit here, shall keep coming back for more… I like this kootu, but never made it my Mom makes it or when my MIL was with us she made it for me cos I like it very much!!! I am so lazy to peel and clean the flower 😉 am going grocery shopping if I get one am gonna make this for sure!!!

  18. simplyfood says:

    What a lot of hard work in preparation but I am sure its worth it for the final dish.

  19. Its really a tough task of cleaning the flower isnt it? nice recipe and thanks for sharing..

  20. Apu says:

    Lovely recipe Ruchika. I love any recipe with plantain flowers.

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