Raw Banana, Vazhakkai or Kachha Kela is every South Indian’s delight. I am no different and the minute I spotted fresh Plantain or Vazhakkai, I knew I had to whip up this soul satisfying, simple sabzi for Sunday Lunch called Vazhakkai Podimas – The South Indian Raw Banana Sabzi.
This podimas or sabzi is a Tam Bram specialty. The word “podi” in Podimas actually refers to as “Mash” and not the spicy powder or masala that is sprinkled on vegetables. While you can mash the cooked plantain or raw banana, most people, prefer the grated raw banana, including us. Note – Few pieces would crumble while grating, which is completely okay.
In Tam Bram homes, during Amavasya (No Moon Day), this Raw Banana Podimas is served as lunch along with Pavakkai Pitlai (made with yellow moong dal instead of toovar dal), Steamed Rice and some pachadi.
Amavasya meals are No Onion No Garlic, even restricted to few vegetables. Dinner is “tiffin” which means either Idli, Dosa, Kozhukattai. In short, no full meals at night.
An equally popular, Potato Podimas is every South Indian’s preferred Sunday Lunch too with Sambar or Mor Kuzhambu and Rice. The mashed potatoes and basic spices makes it utterly comforting and delicious. A treat that is very hard to resist. Now that I am writing about it, I am tempted to cook and post the recipe on the blog!
The Vazhaikkai Podimas recipe that I share with you today is quite simple. The Raw Banana or Plantain is peeled and pressure cooked, grated, tempered with some lentils and curry leaves in coconut oil. The dish is complete with some grated coconut on top.
As Palakkad Iyers, we prefer cooking our sabzis / poriyals etc in coconut oil as the flavors really stand out. You can alternatively cook this vegetable in Sesame oil or Vegetable oil too. However, do not skip the grated coconut at any cost.
As mentioned above, since this method of preparation requires grating the (cooked) raw banana, I find pressure cooking the most easy way out rather than cooking them in a pan or kadhai which is time consuming.
Let us check out the detailed step by step process of making Vazhakkai Podimas at home. Do read till the end for some amazing Banana Recipes on the blog.
Vazhakkai Podimas Step By Step Recipe
Cut the ends of the plantain or Raw Banana and peel the skin. Place it in a vessel for pressure cooking, close it and cook for atleast 5 whistles. Note – You can keep the whole banana while pressure cooking but it consumes more time. Peeling helps in faster cooking.
Once the pressure from cooker has released, allow the raw banana to cool, then peel the remaining layer of skin and grate the white portion.
Once the raw banana is grated, heat a kadhai or non-stick pan, add some mustard seeds, Urad Dal, finely chopped green chillies, red chillies and curry leaves.
Now add the grated vazhakkai or raw banana along with salt to taste.
Mix well, cover and cook for few seconds.
Now, add the grated coconut and mix well.
Switch off the flame, Vazhakkai Podimas is ready to eat!
Isn’t it quite simple to make this Raw Banana Podima? Simple enough to try it for your next Sunday lunch?
Do you know that every single part of the Banana plant can be used?. For example, the leaves form as edible plates for eating food, wrapping, steaming etc. The Banana Stem, Flowers are used for cooking – Sabzis, Kootu, Vadai, etc. Of course, the fruit is loved by all which can be turned into milkshakes, cakes, desserts etc.
So, If you are wondering how you can cook the above traditional varieties, do take a look at the recipes on the blog, listed below.
Other interesting traditional “Banana” Recipes from the blog
- Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili – Extremely healthy, filling vegetable made with with Banana Flowers or Banana Blossom. Read the post for its umpteen health benefits.
- Vazhaipoo Vadai – The very same Banana flowers or Banana Blossom turned into delicious Air Fryer snack. Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee.
- Vazhaithandu Kootu – Banana Stem turned into a delicious side dish loaded with lentils and cooked in a coconut gravy.
- Nendran Pazham Pradhaman – A signature traditional dessert or Kheer, payasam with jaggery and Nendran Bananas, this is every Keralite’s delight.
Vazhakkai Podimas (South Indian Raw Banana Sabzi)
- 3 nos. Raw Banana Check Notes below
- 3/4 cup Grated Coconut 1 cup is 250 ml measurement
- 1 tsp Urad Dal
- 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1-2 nos Whole red chillies broken into half
- 2-3 nos Green Chillies finely chopped can be optional or quantity can be adjusted
- 1.5 tbsp Coconut Oil
- Curry leaves few sprigs
- salt to taste
- Cut the ends of the plantain or Raw Banana and peel the skin. Place it in a vessel for pressure cooking, close it and cook for atleast 5 whistles. Note – You can keep the whole banana while pressure cooking but it consumes more time. Peeling enables faster cooking.
- Once the pressure from cooker has released, allow the raw banana to cool, then peel the remaining layer of skin and grate the white portion.
- Heat a kadhai or non-stick pan, add Coconut oil and mustard seeds.
- Once the mustard crackles, add the Urad Dal and roast until it is slightly brownish in colour.
- Now add the finely chopped green chillies, red chillies and curry leaves. Saute well.
- Add the grated vazhakkai or raw banana along with salt to taste.
- Mix well, cover and cook for few seconds. Then add the grated coconut and mix everything well once again.
- Now, switch off the flame, Vazhakkai Podimas is ready to eat! Note – The vegetable tastes best when served piping hot.
- 3 nos. Raw Banana (long ones) are used for this recipe. If you buy small short ones, you can add 6 of those. Buy green raw bananas without a spot of yellow.
- Raw Banana can be cooked in a pan or open vessel with some water and salt too. I avoid this as it is time consuming. I prefer pressure cooking. You may have also noticed that I have not added any water in the vessel where I have placed the raw bananas.
- I use a 10 litre pressure cooker that allows me to cook 2-3 different things together making cooking easier and faster. If I cook Raw Bananas, I tend to place the vessel in the middle so it doesn’t overcook. I place the rice below and dal on top in 2 separate vessels with lid. This method of cooking not only saves time and fuel but also keeps the nutrients intact.
- The quantity of grated coconut used can be altered according to taste and preference. Raw banana is generally bland in taste so the coconut adds to both flavour and taste.
- You can use any neutral oil in lieu of coconut oil. Sesame Oil is also fine.
- Quantity of green chillies and red chillies can be altered according to taste and preference.
- You may notice that I have not added any turmeric powder as this recipe is traditionally made without turmeric powder. You can, however, add the same.
- This recipe is Gluten Free and Vegan both.
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