Vazha Pindi Thoran: Kerala-Style Banana Stem Stir Fry
Image Credit: FoodGood

Since time immemorial, bananas and parts of the banana tree have always been utilised in different ways in Indian homes. From relishing a delicious sadya spread on the banana leaf to enjoying banana flower cutlets at tea or even making a sinfully delicious banana-caramel sauce to spoon over ice cream, the various elements of the banana plant have played a crucial role in developing recipes or cooking, in general.

Unlike most other plant stems, what is commonly referred to as banana stem, is in fact, the flower stalk of the plant. Crunchy on the outside and fibrous on the inside, this part of the banana tree is mostly underrated, apart from being famously used in Bengali cuisine. Loaded with plenty of health benefits like being fibre rich, potassium rich and lush with vitamin B6, the banana stem is a great ingredient to include in your diet. Typically eaten as a sabzi or in the form of potato chops, this Kerala-style thoran recipe is a healthy and mildly-flavoured way to include in your meals, as an accompaniment to your rotis or dal-chawal.


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  • 1 medium-sized banana stem
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 2 red chillies, broken in half
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated coconut
  • ¼ cup sprouted moong
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • Salt to taste

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  • Discard the first two, thick layers of the banana stem by peeling them off and cut the inner stem into roundels before chopping finely. Set aside until further use.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and temper using the mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chillies. As they splutter, throw in the chopped onion and green chillies and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onions start to brown lightly.
  • Add the chopped banana stem at this stage and toss everything together. Make sure the pieces are coated with the aromatic oil before adding the spice powders and seasoning with salt.
  • Add a splash or two of water and cover with a lid to cook for 6-7 minutes. Take off the lid and add the grated coconut and moong sprouts and mix thouroughly.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust, if necessary and cook with a lid on for another 4-5 minutes. Serve hot, with dal-chawal or with rotis.