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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Curried Plantains/ Kelyachi Bhaji

Plantains  are relatively a new addition to my grocery list. Plantains are raw bananas and are green in color. At this stage they are starchy and not at all sweet. You cannot eat plantains raw, they need to be cooked. The taste and texture of the plantain is similar to potatoes. Also, the raw banana skin is very tightly wound around the fruit, is very fibrous and difficult to peel off. Till about a year ago, the only form of plantain that I had tasted was plantain chips. So, one day I picked up some plantain on my grocery run and decided to experiment with it. It turned out really good and my family loved it. The first time I made it, it was a little difficult to peel off the banana but the next time around I tried out a trick and the peel just came off. If that has piqued your curiosity, go ahead and read the recipe for details.

1 tbsp oil
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
2 plantains, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 tsp corriander-cumin/dhana jeera powder
red chilli powder to taste
salt to taste

See tips on how to peel the banana. Dice the bananas into small pieces. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Once the mustard starts to crackle, add the tomatoes. Cook these till soft and then add the turmeric and the coriander-cumin powder. Then add the diced banana pieces and mix well. Add red chilli powder and stir well. If needed sprinkle a little water and then cover and let it cook. When cooked, add salt and mix. Serve hot as a side dish or with some hot chapatis.

There are two ways to peel the banana. One method is to use a peeler and a knife, then remove the outer green skin and keep peeling till you reach the banana. The banana is like potato and will tend to oxidize, so put the diced raw pieces  into a bowl of water. This is a laborious method and time consuming. The alternate quick method is to cook the raw banana like a potato. You can boil it in water for a few minutes, till the skin softens. Or you can also pressure cook it. Cook it for around the same time that you would a potato in the pressure cooker.  The banana will be cooked and the skin can easily be removed. If you use this method, it will take lesser time to complete the recipe as the banana is already cooked. You will not need to add any water during the preparation.


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