In India, the entire banana tree is used – the leaves are used to wrap food and to eat from, food is cooked in banana leaves, the flowers and stem are used in cooking. In the recent Masterchef Australia, Gary used banana flower in one of the Masterclasses.
Cutting the banana stem is a fine art in itself, but the effort is really worth it. Only the core of the banana stem is used and it has a mild sweet flavour. It is full of fibre and is highly beneficial for treating ulcers and acidity. The raw juice is combined with buttermilk, salt and lime and is a natural diuretic. It is rich in potassium and vitamin B6.
These fritters are the only way I can get my daughters to eat banana stems. They are extremely delicious. This recipe makes around 20 fritters.
PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes
11/2 cups banana stem, chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 large onion, chopped
2 green chillis, chopped finely
1 tbsp ginger, chopped finely
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped finely
1 cup roasted chana gram
2 pieces of cinnamon
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Place the banana stem with turmeric and a little salt in a large pan and add ¼ cup of water. Cook on medium heat until they become tender and the water is completely evaporated. The stems cook fast and the mixture should be completely dry. Set aside to cool. Dry grind in a blender to a coarse paste (do not make it into a smooth paste).
Powder the roasted gram dal in a blender and set aside.
Roast the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom in a small pan and powder it.
Add the chopped onions, green chillis, ginger and coriander to the stem paste. Add the powdered spices, enough salt and half of the gram powder and mix well. The mixture should be firm enough to be shaped into small fritters. If it is too wet, add more of the powdered gram dal. Shape into small fritters and deep fry.