Banana Blossom Veggie is a regular dish among us...specially on an all vegetarian day. Cooking it is simple but the processing time is a bit lengthy....we need to have a bit of patience for this. What you get at the end is a less spicy veggie with a tinge of sweetness that we get from the shredded coconut used.The peanuts used gives it a nutty flavour mingled with that of garam masala powder. It may be prepared in almost all regions of India, I am posting the very authentic recipe of the Bengalis.
I have chosen this recipe today for a reason. The busy life that we lead today, such time consuming, traditional recipes are vanishing. This generation girls would rather go for a quick fix paneer dish rather than this one. I don't blame them, the kind of crazy life given, its really very hard to follow tradition. They can always counter argue...'Did my grandmother go out for work?' Such arguments are needless. So far as I am concerned, I am not contemporary but primitive, love to follow tradition. I believe, if our tradition had been wearing sarees, it should not be done away with. Vegetables and curries that had being made traditionally, should not be wiped away just because they are time consuming. At least, to show respect to our tradition, we must keep them alive.
Some very special people too close to my heart are almost veggies, may that attraction of prawn malaikari comes in the way of their turning full veggies. They may live far away, unlikely to meet and cook a nice meal for them. May be they are busy professionals and away from their own place for a long time. Today's post is for them. Perhaps on a leisurely weekend, they find a banana blossom in the market, which reminds them of how much pain their mother took to process it and with how much love and care she cooked it. Posting this recipe with hope that one fine morning , while exploring through the internet, they might stop by chance and feel like spicing up with Soma's recipe of Mochar Ghonto. This may remind them how they played with maroon leaf of the blossom using it as a boat whenever it rained. Most of the things in life are by chance, most of the things we do not plan....but it happens.
Banana Blossom[mocha] : 1
Potato : 1[big]
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Garam Masala Powder[Bengali] : 1/2 tsp [an equal amount of cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves toasted lightly and ground into a powder]
Shredded Coconut : 1/2 small cup
Roasted Peanuts[halved] : 8
Bayleaf : 1
Cumin seed : 2 pinches
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Oil[preferably Mustard] : 2 tbsp
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1tsp
Sugar : 1/2 tsp.
Rub your palms with oil so that while peeling and cutting they do not turn black. Let us start peeling of the maroon leaves and take out the flower. At one point, the leaf is cream in colour and cannot be peeled off. That portion has to be chopped off and put in a bowl of water.
Discard the maroon leaves. We have to clean each flower at a time by removing the transparent case and the hardest stigma from each flower. Chop the flower in batches and put in the bowl of water. Pressure cook upto 5 whistles at low heat adding turmeric and salt. Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into cubes. Marinate with little salt.
Once cool, open the lid, squeeze the boiled blossoms and discard the water. Heat oil in a wok. Fry the potato pieces and keep aside. Temper with cumin seeds, halved dry red chillies and the bay leaf. Add the shredded coconut saving some for garnishing.
Once they turn light brown, add the ginger paste. Fry till the raw smell goes. Add cumin powder, turmeric powder, salt, chilli powder. Fry for 1 minute and add the squeezed blossoms. Mix well. Cover. After 4 minutes remove the cover and add 1/2 cup water. Stir and cover again. Keep the heat at low.
After 3-4 minutes add the roasted peanuts and fried potatoes. Mix well and cover cook for 4 minutes. Uncover and add the garam masala powder, sugar and ghee. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with shredded coconut.
Serve warm on a bed of piping hot steamed rice!!