Saturday, August 27, 2011

Banana Blossoms and Lentil Fritters

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Day5 of BM8:  Today we had plans.Plans of going to Cape Cod for Whale Watching. All ruined by Hurricane Irene.Now everyone is grounded in the house with nothing much to do rather than talk about the weather and watch TV. I am annoyed! I was so looking forward to seeing those majestic whales.

The Humpback Whales come to Cape Cod around this time to feed and breed. Last year when MIL alone came for a visit we had taken her to Provincetown(all the way to the tip of Cape Cod) and she enjoyed the trip to the fullest. That day alone the sonar detected 33 whales. One whale came up close and I was able to see the inside of its mouth. It was as big as a camping tent! Seeing such a splendid creature up-close was a humbling experience!
This is what we might have seen had we gone to Cape Cod today(picture from last year):
How to clean a Banana Blossom: A banana blossom has a dozens of flappy purplish layers called "bracts" under which there are rows and rows of Banana Blossoms/Banana Flowers which would eventually grow into bananas. You discard the bracts and gently pry the banana blossoms. Keep going until you remove all the flower and you end up with a small spear(the core). The core is edible. Just chop it into tiny chunks and use it along with the Blossoms in making the fritters/curry/soup etc etc. But before that, oil your hands or use a glove before cleaning the flowers.
A single banana blossom looks like the ones in the picture below- The left most picture is the full blossom. The middle one is the edible one and the right most are the inedible portions - Sepal and the Stamen. The one that looks like a matchstick is the "stamen"(anther +  filament) and the translucent plasticky pink-hued portion is a sepal. These two portions MUST be removed cause you can chew them till the cows come home and still they won't disintegrate! Picture inspiration: Viki's Kitchen.
The flowers removed from the bracts:
The flowers minus the inedible portions:
The chopped flowers soaking in buttermilk and water before being used. This soaking step prevents discoloration of the flowers.
How to make Banana Blossoms and Lentil Fritters: Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup(heaped)Bengal Gram, soaked in warm water for 1-2 hours.
  • 1 Cup(packed) Banana Blossoms, chopped
  • 1" Ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup packed Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 Green Chilies or less/more, finely chopped
  • Salt for taste
  • Corn Oil for deep frying
  • A wok/kadai or dutch oven for deep frying
  • Soak the lentils in water for 1-2 hours.
  • Grind it to a coarse paste with NO/Very Less water along with ginger and garlic.
  • Mix the onion, salt, chilies and cilantro to the ground lentil.
  • Add the chopped Banana Blossoms to the bowl and mix gently.
  • Roll them into 15-16 even balls.
  • Heat the oil in the Wok/Kadai. Flatten the balls to patties and deep fry in oil until they are browned on one side. Gently flip and brown the other side. Takes ~2 minutes per side.
  • Drain the fritters on paper towel.
  • Enjoy with a cup of hot tea or coffee.
Note: If you are a fan of spicy deep-fried delicacies, you may want to give these a shot:
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  1. This is lovely and crispy..Thanks for the recipe..

  2. vazhapoo vadai looks crisp and very tempting. Gorgeous pictorial.

  3. I really miss vazhapoo here :(.. truly tempting and this is my fav too.

  4. Wowwww... looks so tempting and perfect.. love the presentation too.. thanks for the awesome recipe dear :)
    Indian Cuisine

  5. Vadas are very tempting!!!Vazhapoo is excellent>

  6. Lovely looking fritters dear. Also the pics of the whale is awesome.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  7. the end result is so tempting that will tide me through the difficult tasks

  8. Thanks for the pictures. They are most informative. Next ttime I will pick the banana blossoms and make these fitters.

    Do check out my event and send me your entries.

  9. So tempting crispy fritters,my fav anytime..

  10. I have never cooked with banana blossoms, thanks for your very informative post, I'll look for some blossoms on my next Indian grocery trip. Vadas are looking delicious.

  11. they have come out perfect!...looks yummy for sure!

  12. Nice presentation...Never made vazhaa poo vada with hole..

  13. ever since I discovered banana blossoms a few years ago, I am always looking for interesting recipes using them..thanks


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