Friday, September 14, 2012

Vazhaipoo-Banana Flower : Cleaning For Cooking

 VazhaipooCleaning Banana Flower is also called banana blossom or banana heart.
Its astringent in taste. In Thamizh the astringent taste is known as துவர்ப்பு.

Vazhaipoo [ Banana blossom or banana flower ]
Banana Blossom
Vazhaipoo [ Banana blossom or banana flower ]

All the parts of the flower is not edible.
The flower has to be cleaned before cooking.
Open the bract(covering thick purple layer) and we could see a bunch of undeveloped bananas as shown in figure below. These are the edible part used in cooking.

Opened Bract & Undeveloped Banana bunch
Opened Bract & Undeveloped Banana 

Remove the bract.
Take out the bunch of undeveloped banana.
banana blossom floret showing hard stem to be removed
Fingers and nails will turn black because of a sticky liquid comes out while plucking.
To avoid this apply oil over the fingers.
Remove the centre stem from each undeveloped banana.

If you pull out it will come easily.

Go on removing the bracts, keep the bunch of edible undeveloped banana in left hand and pluck out the hard stem by the other hand.

The color of the bracts change from dark color to 

pale white.

Also the undeveloped bananas are more tender at inner parts.

Then these cleaned pieces are ready for cooking.

The cut pieces will get oxidised easily and become black.

So it has to be put into buttermilk(yogurt) mixed water.

Or smear with lemon juice.

Or cut and immediately add while cooking.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Pulichchaaru (புளிச்சாறு ) is a sour n spicy rasam with puli(tamarind) and regular spices .
This is usually prepared only when Paruppu thuvayal - பருப்பு  துவையல் (chutney) is made.
A very good side dish to have with Paruppu thuvayal sadam(rice).

Pulichchaaru ( புளிச்சாறு )

Tamarind(Puli)              : marble size ball
Red chilli                       : 2 or 3(break into small pieces)

Gram dhal                     : 2 Tsp
Thuvar dhal                   : 2 Tsp
Fenugreek                     :1/4 Tsp

Asafatoetida                  : 1/4 Tsp 
Mustard                         : 1 Tsp
Red chilli Powder           : 1/2 Tsp
Cumin Powder               : 1/2 Tsp
Dhaniya Powder             : 1/2 Tsp
Turmeric Powder            :1/4 Tsp
Salt                                 : required amount
Oil                                   : 1 1/2 Tsp
Curry Leaves                   : 10 to 12
Big onion                          : 1 small size(diced)
Garlic                               : 2 or 3 cloves pounded

Soak tamarind in a vessel with hot water.
After 10 minutes strain the soaked tamarind with 1/2 cup of water into a vessel.
Dilute this tamarind water with 1 cup of water.
Now keep a kadai on a slow flame.
Put oil in the kadai and when oil is hot first splutter mustard.
Then add red chilli pieces, curry leaves, gram dhal, thuvar dhal, fenugreek and fry till the dhals turn golden brown in color. 
Now add diced onion and pounded garlic cloves in the order.
Saute well till the smell of onion & garlic comes out.
Now add chilli powder, dhaniya powder, cumin powder and saute for few seconds.
Transfer it into the vessel containing strained tamarind water.

Pulichchaaru ( புளிச்சாறு )

Now keep the vessel on fire and add turmeric powder & salt.
Bring the rasam to boil and allow it boil till the tamarind's raw smell goes off and starts foaming at the top.

Pulichchaaru ( புளிச்சாறு )

Switch off the stove. Add few more curry leaves and asafoetida.
Now Pulichchaaru is ready.
Approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup of rasam can be prepared with these ingredients enough for 3 to 4 people.
If you want this rasam to be spicy add 1 more red chilli and also increase the amount of chilli powder.

Take hot white rice in a plate. Add 1 or 2 tsp of Paruppu thuvayal  and a dash of gingelly oil [ till oil ]. Mix well. Pour a ladle full of pulichchaaru over the paruppu thuvaiyal rice. Enjoy!!!...

Pulichchaaru can also be mixed with hot rice and relished with any kara curry.

The sour taste should be predominant in this rasam. 

Other rasam recipes you might like to try

rasam kokum rasam kollu rasam lemon rasam madras rasam powder