Indian medicine system recommends anything that tastes astringent such as banana flowers, pomegranate, red gram (toor dal), Indian blackberry (black plum), etc. for women’s health as they keep uterus healthy. Consuming cooked banana flower with curd or yoghurt is believed to be one of the most efficient ways of treating excessive bleeding during menstruation as it increases the level of progesterone. So it is always better to prepare banana flower lentil crumble (vazhaipoo paruppu usili) and serve with yoghurt curry (mor-kulambu).
Health benefits of Banana flowers: Banana flowers have flavor similar to that of artichokes. They are good sources of dietary fiber and are of low glycemic index (low-GI); hence useful for diabetics & weight watchers. Banana flowers are particularly beneficial to women of all ages as it regulates the cycle, controls excessive bleeding, prevents constipation during pregnancy and improves lactation for lactating mothers.
Let’s look into the recipe for vazhaipoo paruppu usili:
Yields: 400 g (2 cups)
- Banana florets – 25-30 Nos.
- Moringa leaves (murungai ilai) – a handful (optional)
- Bengal gram (kadalai paruppu) – ½ cup
- Red chillies – 4 Nos.
- Cumin seeds (jeeragam) – ½ tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Coconut gratings – as required
For tempering :
- Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds (kadugu) – ¼ tsp
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Shallots (sambar vengayam) – 15 Nos.
- Please refer the ‘gif’ below to prepare the banana flower; some may discard calyx also but we don’t.(Please refer the “Tips & Tweaks section also).
- Soak chopped florets in buttermilk and squeeze the water out after 10 min.
- Steam the florets along with moringa leaves for about 10 minutes and keep aside.
- Wash & soak Bengal gram for 2 hours.
- Rinse well & drain the water completely.
- Grind it along with red chillies & cumin seeds into a coarse dough without adding water.
- Transfer to a greased bowl and pressure cook the dough (simmer for 10 min. after bringing to high pressure).
- Grind the cooked lentil dough into a coarse powder at room temperature and keep aside.
- Heat a cooking pan with oil in medium flame.
- Add mustard seeds, when they begin to crackle add curry leaves & chopped shallots.
- Saute until shallots turn translucent.
- Add turmeric powder & saute for 5 sec.
- Add lentil crumble & salt (½ tsp) and mix well.
- Add steamed banana florets & moringa leaves and remaining salt.
- Stir well to combine together.
- Remove from heat.
- Garnish with grated coconut before serving.
Tips & Tweaks:
- Chopped florets are soaked in acidic water to remove the bitterness and to prevent blackening.
- You may replace Bengal gram with any lentil (one or more) of your choice.
- Turmeric powder gives a beautiful color, so I don’t want to make it without turmeric.
- I have not used asafoetida powder or ginger, as banana flowers themselves are antiflatulents.
- You may replace banana flower with other vegetables like carrot, beans, cluster beans, etc.