Vazhaithandu Kootu / Banana Stem Lentil Curry Recipe

Vazhaithandu Kootu is a healthy combination of banana stem and lentils, a no onion no garlic South Indian Side dish for rice and chapati.

Vazhaithandu Kootu / Banana Stem Lentil Curry Recipe

I am on a Kootu spree! Well, with Aadi Masam and our limited consumption of Onion and Garlic at home, Kootu Recipes come in handy. Couple of days ago, I posted a recipe for Cabbage Kootu and now it is time for another delicious and wholesome Kootu variety with Banana Stem or Vazhaithandu. Presenting Vazhaithandu Kootu or Banana Stem Lentil Curry Recipe.

Banana Stem takes a bit of prep work, I agree and so will most South Indians. The chopping part, particularly, requires a bit of skill and is slightly time consuming. However, once the banana stem or Vazhaithandu is chopped and cooked, rest of the recipe hardly takes any time.

Vazhaithandu or Banana Stem is extremely rich in fibre. The recipe is low in oil, as are most Kootu recipes and extremely filling, thanks to the dal or lentils used. An Ideal Sunday Lunch with some Rasam, Rice and Ghee, along with Papadam and pickle on the side.

Vazhaithandu or Banana Stem Kootu Recipe
Delicious Vazhaithandu Kootu with tempering

What are the benefits of Banana Stem or Vazhaithandu?

  • One of the richest source of fibre, Banana Stem or Vazhaithandu is particularly great option for anyone looking to lose weight. A portion of this vegetable makes you full and keeps you satiated for long.
  • It is extremely cooling for the body and hence consumed more during summers.
  • The juice of the Banana stem is mixed with butter milk and salt and consumed to detoxify and cleanse the system too.
  • The juice is particularly beneficial for acidity and constipation.
  • We consume this vegetable twice a month for a great detox especially during summers and rainy season, when chances of stomach infections are usually high. SOURCE
Banana Stem
Banana Stem or Vazhaithandu

Let’s learn how to Cut Banana Stem to make Vazhaithandu Kootu

I have tried my best to include step by step images below on how to cut and chop the vegetable easily, especially for first timers.

  • The only pet peeve about this vegetable is the chopping part. However, personally I feel Vazhaithandu is easier to handle than Vazhaipoo or Banana Flowers.
  • It is important to Make A Mixture of Curd – Water – Turmeric Powder to dip the chopped Banana Stem to avoid discoloration.
  • 1 part of curd, 5 parts of water and 1/4 tsp of Turmeric powder whisked well has to be kept ready before the banana stem is chopped. The banana stem stays immersed in this mixture, until it is used for cooking.
  • While Chopping ensure the fibrous portion (see pictures below) is fully removed before chopping them.
  • The fibrous portion is difficult to digest and gets lodged in your throat too at times, especially if the Vaizhathandu is not cooked properly.
Slice the banana stem
Slice the banana stem
Pull the fibre out of each slice of banana stem
Pull the fibre gently (to be repeated with each slice)
Banana Stem Slice with the fibre completely removed.
Banana Stem Slice with the fibre completely removed.
Buttermilk mixture to soak the chopped banana stem to avoid discoloration
A mixture of Curd, Water and Turmeric to soak the chopped Banana Stem
Chopped Banana Stem
Chopped Banana Stem (Notice no fibrous threads)
Vazhaithandu or Banana Stem Chopped and soaked in buttermilk
Vazhaithandu or Banana Stem Chopped and soaked in buttermilk mixture until ready for cooking

How to Store Banana Stem or Vazhaithandu?

  • I normally buy Banana Stem from the market and store it at room temperature in a basket. Stays good for couple of days.
  • Alternatively, you can wrap and store it in a refrigerator too for long shelf life. Wrap both the ends well to avoid discoloration.
  • Also avoid chopping and storing it in advance. Always immerse chopped pieces in buttermilk and turmeric mixture to ensure there is no discoloration. Though, it is always recommended to chop and immediately cook this vegetable for best results.

Step by Step Recipe to Make Vazhaithandu Kootu at home

  • First chop and immerse the Banana Stem or Vazhaithandu as explained in detail above.
  • Soak the lentils for 10 minutes (while chopping the banana stem).
  • Discard the buttermilk water and rinse once quickly. Add salt and turmeric powder.
  • Pressure cook the Banana Stem and the dal or lentils separately until the Banana Stem is slightly mushy. Do not overcook. (see the 3rd pic below)
  • Prepare the Coconut gravy by grinding chopped pieces of coconut, whole red chillies and jeera or cumin seeds.
  • Now add all the 3 ingredients together, adjust the consistency with required quantity of water and simmer for 5 minutes. Switch off the flame and prepare for tempering.
  • Add a tempering in coconut oil with curry leaves, urad dal and mustard seeds along with whole red chillies.
  • Serve piping hot with chapati or rice.

Looking for more Sunday Lunch Recipes, Do try Maharashtrian Tondli Bhaat Recipe {No Onion No Garlic Version}, Rajma Pulao and serve it with Mixed Vegetable Raita.

Vazhaithandu Kootu

Vazhaithandu Kootu / Banana Stem Lentil Curry Recipe

South Indian Lentil Curry recipe using Banana Stem or Vazhaithandu with step by step pics and tips to clean and chop Banana Stem at home.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: South Indian
Keyword: Banana Stem Recipe, No Onion No Garlic Recipe, South Indian Kootu Recipes, vazhaithandu kootu
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Vazhaithandu or Banana Stem chopped 1 cup is 250 ml measurement. Also See Notes
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Moong Dal
  • 1 1/2 cup Water (1 cup to cook Dal + 1/2 cup to pressure cook Banana stem) (Extra water to soak dal + wash the vaizhathandu as required)
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder or Haldi Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • FOR THE COCONUT GRAVY
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Coconut pieces Add less if grated
  • 1 tbsp Jeera or Cumin Seeds
  • 4 nos. Whole Red Chillies
  • 1/4 cup Water for grinding
  • FOR THE TADKA OR TEMPERING
  • 1/2 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds or Rai
  • 1-2 nos. Whole Red chillies
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • Curry leaves as required

Instructions

  • First chop and immerse the Banana Stem or Vazhaithandu pieces in a mixture of buttermilk and turmeric powder.
  • Soak the lentils for 10 minutes (while chopping the banana stem).
  • Discard the buttermilk water and rinse once quickly.
  • Add salt and turmeric powder. Pressure cook the Banana Stem and the dal separately until the Banana Stem is slightly mushy. Do not overcook.
  • Prepare the Coconut gravy by grinding chopped pieces of coconut, whole red chillies and jeera or cumin seeds.
  • Heat a Kadhai or pan, add all the 3 ingredients together, adjust the consistency with required quantity of water and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame and prepare for tempering.
  • Add a tempering in coconut oil with curry leaves, urad dal and mustard seeds along with whole red chillies. Serve piping hot with chapati or rice.

Notes

  • Soak the vazhaithandu in buttermilk mixture until you plan to cook. 
  • It took 5 whistles for both the banana stem and moong dal to cook in a pressure cooker (10 litre).
  • You can add Toor Dal or Arhar Dal instead of Yellow Moong Dal. I tend to add Moong as it is lighter to digest. 
  • The recipe is Vegan and Gluten Free. 

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Vidya Narayan

Views: 572

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 2 Comments

  1. Simple yet Beautiful curry with minimal ingredients 😍

    1. Thanks Jyo.

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