Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili / Banana Blossom Lentil Crumble

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili is a wholesome, filling and healthy South Indian Vegetarian Side Dish or Stir Fry with Banana Blossom or Banana Flowers and lentils.

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili / Banana Blossom Lentil Crumble

The week starts with a healthy South Indian Recipe made with Vazhaipoo or Banana Blossom / Banana Flowers. Presenting Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili or the Banana Blossom Lentil Crumble, a stir fry made with a combination of vegetables and lentils or dals.

Last week, had blogged about Vazhaithandu Kootu or Banana Stem Vegan Lentil Curry. Today, we focus on the Banana Blossom or Banana Flowers also known as Vazhaipoo in Tamil.

This vegetable or South Indian Dry Sabzi is hearty, filling, nutritious for all age groups. Today’s blog post is also a bit elaborate, as it focuses on how to cut and clean the banana flower, remove the inedible parts, how to store, its health benefits and much more.

We tend to cook this Stir fry or Paruppu Usili only on weekends. Honestly, it takes a decent amount of time to clean and chop the Banana Blossom or Vazhaipoo. It also takes a bit of practice and expertise to get it right. Hence, I have documented the same below pictorially for your convenience.

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili

Aside from the time consuming prep work, the joy of eating this delicious vegetable stir fry is unmatched, especially as Sunday Lunch. Trust me, if you read the health benefits below, you would want to include this vegetable as part of your diet much often.

What is Banana Blossom or Vazhaipoo?

  • Banana Blossoms or Vazhaipoo are flowers of the Banana Tree.
  • The outer covering is magenta in colour protecting the tender flowers which are yellowish in colour.
  • The outer covering needs to be peeled away and only the flowers are edible and further used in cooking.
  • The Blossoms are harvested to use in the form of vegetables, stir fries, salads etc. The Flowers if left on the tree, blossom into Bananas (the fruit) after few days.
  • Banana Blossom is easily available in vegetable markets in India and most Asian Grocery stores too, if living abroad.
  • Banana is extremely auspicious according to Hindu religion. Almost the entire tree is useful including the leaves. The leaves are eco friendly plates used for all religious festivals, pooja and marriage buffets too.
  • It is a pocket friendly vegetable. A bunch of Vazhaipoo costs Rs. 30 to 40 that is filling for a family of 3 to 4 members.

How to Clean and Chop the Banana Blossom for Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili?

  • The Banana Flowers instantly start turning brown to black if left exposed to air for too long. Do not peel the outer magenta layer unless you are ready to use / cook. The outer cover acts as a protective layer to the flowers and prevents discolouration.
  • Before peeling the magenta exterior of the Banana Flower, apply oil on your hands, chopping board and knife. Also cover the table cloth with a news paper else it would stain the cloth black.
  • Slowly peel the layers and keep aside.
  • Before chopping, take a vessel, add 1/4 cup thick curd and whisk well. Add some water to make a buttermilk consistency followed by some turmeric powder. Mix all this and keep aside.
  • The Banana blossoms would be chopped and immersed in this buttermilk – turmeric liquid to avoid discoloration until its being cooked.
  • Take each flower and remove / pull out the stigma which appears with a tiny bulb like structure on top. This has to be entirely removed as it is not edible and if left, leaves a bitter taste.
  • Just attached to the stigma is the perianth or the thin translucent leaf shaped part of the flower that also needs to be plucked out.
  • Once the above two are discarded, the rest of the flowers can be finely chopped and dipped in the buttermilk – turmeric solution until it is ready to cook.
  • First timers usually don’t discard the bitter parts of the flower and often complain on how their vegetable tasted bitter after cooking. It is only due to the presence of both the elements as explained above, that needs to be discarded.
How to cut Vazhaipoo or Banana Flower
How to Cut and clean Vazhaipoo at home
Thin Buttermilk Turmeric Solution to immerse the chopped Vazhaipoo
Thin Buttermilk and Turmeric Solution to immerse the chopped Vazhaipoo

How to store Banana Blossom or Vazhaipoo?

  • The vegetable doesn’t require refrigeration if you plan to use it within couple of days.
  • It is although advised, to store in refrigerator, if the weather is hot and humid.
  • Just ensure the magenta colour outer covering is not disturbed which prevents the flowers from discolouration.
  • Tie a thread in the centre to help hold the tender banana blossoms
  • After chopping the flowers, it can be safely stored in the refrigerator for couple of days (dipped in the buttermilk solution) to avoid discolouration.
  • When cooking, discard the buttermilk, rinse once and use.
  • I, however, use this vegetable immediately after chopping.
  • It is stored maximum for a day to be enjoyed as Vazhaipoo Vadai or Banana Blossom Fritters.

What are some of the health benefits of Vazhaipoo or Banana Blossoms?

  • Very easy to digest and light on stomach.
  • Growing up, my mother always stressed on eating this twice a month as it is extremely good for women health in general. It is known to ease menstrual bleeding and pain associated with that.
  • It also helps in lactation and is often the number one choice as vegetable mixed with ghee, garlic and rice given to new Mothers post delivery.
  • Banana Flowers have good iron content.

Click here for Source / More Info on health benefits.

Healthy Paruppu Usili with Banana Blossom

The Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili is a great side dish or stir fry to eat with Rice and Rasam or Mor Kuzhambu. We, however, like this with some curd rice as well. Fills and soothes your stomach, especially during summers.

The paruppu, Dal or legumes in the stir fry is a great source of protein too. This vegetable stir fry does not require coconut and once you cover the cleaning and chopping part, the cooking and stir frying hardly takes 30 minutes.

Let’s now take a look at the pictorial recipe below.

Step by Step Recipe for Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili / Banana Blossom Lentil Crumble

How to Make Lentil Crumble (You can check out the Cabbage Paruppu Usili Post for the step wise pictures)

  • Wash and Soak the 1/4 cup Chana Dal and 1/4 cup Toor Dal separately for an hour.
  • Drain the water in the colander, give a quick rinse and allow it to sit for 10 minutes until the residual water has also drained out.
  • Now add both these ingredients in a mixer grinder jar and pulsethem until coarse (do not add any water)
  • Collect the coarse dal mixture on a greased steamer plate and steam them for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Once they have steamed, cool completely and pulse them again in a mixer grinder.
  • (Please Note – I have written pulse which means just one or two turns of the mixer grinder and not more than that) we are looking for a coarse sand mixture not a lumpy sticky one).
  • Use immediately and store balance, if any, within the next 48 hours. Store it in refrigerator.

FOR THE Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili

  1. We are ready to cook the vegetable, once the Vazhaipoo is cleaned, chopped and soaked in the buttermilk mixture.

2. Drain all the buttermilk water, give it a quick rinse and pressure cook this vegetable (without any water) along with some salt and a pinch of turmeric for 2 whistles.

Vazhaipoo Pressure Cooked with salt and turmeric

3. Once the cooker is cooled and pressure released, lid opened, heat a pan and add oil followed by urad dal, mustard seeds, whole red chillies.

4. Add some curry leaves and then add in the cooked Banana blossoms. Stir well, check for salt and add more if required.

Tempering with Sesame oil

5. You will notice some moisture. Allow it to fully evaporate before you add the lentil crumble else it would turn lumpy.

Vazhaipoo contains a lot of moisture

6. Once water evaporates from the pan, add the lentil crumble, mix well and switch off the flame.

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili is ready

7. Serve piping hot with Sambar, Rasam or Mor Kuzhambu.

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili Recipe

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili / Banana Blossom Lentil Crumble

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili is a wholesome, filling and healthy South Indian Vegetarian Side Dish or Stir Fry with Banana Blossom or Banana Flowers and lentils.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: South Indian
Keyword: Banana Blossom, Banana Flower recipes, No Onion No Garlic Recipe, South Indian Side Dish,, Traditional Recipes, Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soaking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Author: Vidya Narayan

Ingredients

  • 1 no Vazhaipoo / Banana Flower / Banana Blossoms Quantity of flowers depend on the Vazhaipoo Bunch
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil 1 tsp for greasing hands for chopping Vazhaipoo
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds or Rai
  • 3-4 nos Whole Red Chillies I have used Pondi Chillies
  • Few Sprigs of Curry Leaves
  • 1 pinch Turmeric Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • INGREDIENTS FOR LENTIL CRUMBLE OR PARUPPU USILI
  • 1/4 cup Chana Dal 1 cup is 250 ml measurement
  • 1/4 cup Toor Dal
  • Water to wash, soak and steam the dals as required

Instructions

  • FIRST STEP – To Make Lentil Crumble or Paruppu Usili
  • Wash and Soak the 1/4 cup Chana Dal and 1/4 cup Toor Dal separately for an hour.
  • Drain the water in the colander, give a quick rinse and allow it to sit for 10 minutes until the residual water has also drained out.
  • Now add both these ingredients in a mixer grinder jar and pulse them once or twice until coarse (do not add any water)
  • Collect the coarse dal mixture on a greased steamer plate and steam them for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Once they have steamed, cool completely and pulse them in a mixer grinder. (note – I have written pulse which means just one or two turns of the grinder and not more than that) we are looking for a coarse sand mixture not a wet sticky one). Use immediately and store balance, if any, within the next 48 hours. Store it in a refrigerator.
  • SECOND STEP – How to make the Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili
  • Once the Vazhaipoo is cleaned and chopped, soaked in the buttermilk mixture, we are ready to cook the vegetable.
  • Drain all the buttermilk water, give it a quick rinse and pressure cook this vegetable (without any water) along with some salt and a pinch of turmeric powder for 2 whistles.
  • Once the cooker is cooled and pressure released, lid opened. Heat a pan and add oil followed by urad dal, mustard seeds, whole red chillies.
  • Add some curry leaves and then add in the cooked Banana blossoms. Stir well, check
    for salt and add more if required
  • You will notice some moisture. Allow it to fully evaporate before you add the lentil crumble else it would turn lumpy.
  • Once water evaporates from the pan, add the lentil crumble, mix well and switch off the flame.
  • Serve piping hot with Sambar, Rasam or Mor Kuzhambu.

Notes

  • The cooked vegetable stays fresh in the refrigerator for a day. It does tend to get slightly bitter, best to cook it fresh and consume. 
  • The lentil crumble can be made extra and stored in the refrigerator for couple of days. Can be added to vegetables like french beans, cabbage etc. 
  • The vegetable is usually consumed in small portions, as it is extremely filling. 
  • I usually do not add whole red chillies to my paruppu usili mix and prefer adding it separately. I make an extra batch and use it for the next day too. 
  • The recipe is gluten free and vegan. 
 
 

Disclaimer – I am not a certified nutritionist. Please obtain suitable advise from a recognized Medical Practitioner and / or Nutritionist. All the health related information is derived from source mentioned in the blog post, experiences from consuming the said ingredient since childhood, especially in case of traditional recipes shared via the blog.

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Thank you for visiting

Vidya Narayan

Views: 1143

Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Vidya,
    Love your detailed post including how to clean the banana flower. Fabulous graphics!
    My Aai used to make this bhaji with black peas and ground coconut mixture- a typical Saraswat Brahmin/ konkani recipe. I liked your traditional recipe as well. It is so interesting to learn our traditional recipes from different regions, right?

    1. Thanks Sandhya for the kind words. I love the Kelphulachi Bhaji with onions and coconut combo too but now I need to try the Konkani / Saraswat recipe you mentioned. Such traditional recipes are time consuming but since we are all going back to basics, its high time, such lovely vegetables are brought back into the kitchen and cooked with.

  2. Very detailed info on banana blossoms and nicely explained recipe for those like me who are not familiar with the dish.. Sounds very interesting and rich in flavours!!

    1. Swaty, the only pet peeve about the vegetable is the chopping part. When we were young, both my parents sat and cleaned the flowers, cooked meals. Glad you found the graphics useful, I am sure the first timers would do as well.

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