Banana Tree (though technically not a tree) is one of the most versatile plants that I can think of. Every part of a banana tree is utilized in one way or the other. It is one of the most eco friendly, biodegradable and sustainable plant.
Why? You may ask. The banana tree consists of :
1. The shoot which grows from underground and becomes the trunk of the tree.
2.The Trunk of the Tree - Inner part of the tree trunk is used as a vegetable ( recipe in a future post)
3. Banana flower - Makes a very good vegetable, rich in fiber. Photograph and recipe below. It can also be made into a tasty snack ( look for a future post)
4. Bananas - I am sure each of you have your favorites.
5.Banana leaves - As a medium of wrapping and steaming or baking.
I remember back home in India, after serving food on the banana leaves, we used to just toss them in our backyard and cows would come and eat them! (talk about environmentally friendly!)
Here in the Washington DC metropolitan area banana flowers are available in Indian grocery stores, Korean Markets, and other Asian bazaars.
Banana leaves ready to be shipped. Below : Different types of Bananas
BANANA FLOWER :
The banana flower is sliced and chopped .( My version) Photos : K.N.Vinod
Photos : K.N.Vinod
This is another way to chop the banana flower. This needs experience, so please do not try it. That is my mom, Pushpavathy who grew up in Kerala, India and she has done this all her life. so please, please do nor try it...
Photos : K.N.Vinod
Banana flower - 1 no. ( roughly chopped)
Onions ( chopped) - 2 tablespoons
Chopped garlic - 1 tsp
Chopped ginger - 1 tsp
Whole Red chili - 3 -4
Grated coconut - 2 tablespoon *
salt - to taste
red chili pdr - 1 tsp
turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a sprig
Vegetable oil - 2 table spoons
1. Wash and rinse the banana flower in cold running water. Detach the first one or two layers of the banana flower (banana boat) and set aside for presenting the prepared dish in it.
2. Chop the banana flower as shown in the picture.
3. Heat oil, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add whole red chilly, chopped garlic and ginger. When the garlic and ginger starts getting a golden color, add chopped onions and saute till the onions are translucent and slightly golden in color.
4. Add red chilly powder, turmeric, stir for a minute and add grated coconut and saute for another minute. Now add the chopped banana flower, salt and stir on a slow fire till the banana flower turns dark in color and is cooked ( 7-10 minutes)
5. Dish on to the banana flower boat and serve hot.
* Grated coconut : Available in most Indian grocery stores ( frozen) , if you do not want to use fresh.
VARIATION : You can cook some green peas along wit it.
Have fun going bananas ! trunk, fruit or the flower ? Your Choice ! Bon Appetit !