(Steamed banana flower)
Makes 3 portions
1 cup banana flower (mocha or vazhapoo), chopped (see method)
2 tsp kasundi, (Bengali mustard sauce, see method)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp mustard oil
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup coconut, grated
3-4 tsp curd, beaten
Cutting a banana flower needs a bit of patience. Peel away the outer purple layers (which are the petals) and collect the yellowish finger-like banana florets till you reach the creamy inner core. Chop the inner core finely. Keep aside. Slit each of the florets lengthwise and pull out the small, translucent, plastic-like covering of the stamens within and discard (it’s indigestible). Also discard the one dark-coloured stamen (it’s bitter) among several lighter ones in the floret. When all the florets have been cleaned, chop them up and mix with the chopped core. Boil the chopped flower in lots of water with a pinch of salt and turmeric till half-cooked. Drain the water. The banana flower is ready to be cooked.
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients well. Take 2-3 tbsp of the mix and spoon it into one of the smaller petals. Put the petals into a steamer and steam over low fire for about 15 minutes or till done. The banana flower should still be slightly crunchy.
Garnish with slit green chillies and drizzle a teaspoon of mustard oil. Serve with steamed rice, or rolled in a chapati.
To make kasundi: Grind yellow mustard and mix with vinegar in a 4:1 proportion and a pinch of salt.