Monday, July 8, 2013

Vazhapoo (Banana Blossom) Vadai

A long time ago,  I saw a tamil movie in which one of the characters made vazhapoo vadai.  If I remember right, the vadais were kind of critical to the plot.

I have never made this.  I make vadais regularly for parties but usually end up making either ulundu vadai or masala vadai.  This time around, I decided to try vazhapoo vadai.  

Vazhapoo Vadai

We only get vazhapoo at a Chinese/Asian grocery store, which is not that far away, but my normal commute doesn’t take me in that direction.  So I don’t buy it that often.  Also, it takes a bit of prep time to cook vazhapoo.  You have to remove the stigma and the outer translucent covering from individual florets and this takes time.  Here is a great tutorial on how to prepare vazhapoo.

Anyway, I had invited a few people over for dinner.   I made vazhapoo vadai, baby idlis, idiyappam, ishtew, and kadala curry.  My friends brought bajjis, sambar, pulav, dry subji, raita, salad, rotis, and dessert.

I will post recipes for the idiyappam, ishtew, and kadala curry soon.

Here is what you need (to make about 60 vadas):

  • 1 small banana blossom
  • 1 cup channa dal
  • 1 cup green split peas (dried – the kind used to make split pea soup)
  • ½ cup toor dal
  • ½ cup moong dal
  • a handful urad dal
  • 8 – 10 red chilies
  • 2” piece ginger
  • ½ tsp. hing
  • salt to taste
  • 6 – 8 green chilies
  • a bunch of chopped cilantro
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • few curry leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • oil for deep frying

Here is how I made it:

  1. Wash and soak all the dals together for about two hours.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the vazhapoo like this.  Chop the florets finely and then steam it for about 5 minutes with salt and turmeric powder (you can do this in the microwave).  Squeeze out all the water from this.
  3. Grind the dals, with ginger, red and green chilies, hing, and salt in a food processor. I use the food processor because I can grind it to a coarse paste without adding any water.
  4. To this, add the vazhapoo, onions, cilantro, curry leaves, and fennel seeds.  Mix well
  5. Heat enough oil for deep-frying.
  6. Take lime sized balls of the batter in your palm and flatten it to shape the vadas.  Slip this gently to the hot oil.  Keep the heat on medium so that the vadas get cook evenly, inside and out.  You can fry a few vadas at a time.
  7. Gently turn these so that they don’t break.  Once both sides are browned evenly, remove from oil and drain it on a paper towel.
  8. Repeat till all the batter is done.

Serve hot with chutney of your choice.  You can make this ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer and then warm it up in the oven.

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