I like to think of Vazhakkai also known as Raw Banana or Green Plaintain as the unsweetened cousin of Banana. Plaintains and Kerala are almost synonomous thanks to the fanatical devotedness of people to munching on Kerala’s various plaintain delicacies. Yet this aint a recipe from Kerala but Tamil Nadu, the other state where Plaintains are cooked up and served in all kinds of forms.
Vazhakkai Podi or a mix of grated raw banana/unripe plaintain with a powder and is typically served with Rice. Me thinks this will make a superb combination with More Kuzhambu. For a change I used them to make Parathas.
Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes, Serves 3 – 4
For Vazhakkai Podi (Powder)
- Raw Banana/ Green Plaintain * 1
- Channa Dal 1 1/2 tbsp (Bengal Gram Dal)
- Urad Dal 1 1/2 tbsp
- Red Chillies 2
- Hing/ Asafoetida – a small piece
- Salt to taste
*Update: Vazhakkai are Plaintains that are unripe or Green in colour not the sweet Bananas that are not yet ripe. Raw Bananas is a colloquial reference used in Madras which also appears on the bill when you pick a bunch of these green plaintains. The term “Raw” is used to refer to the “paccha” or “raw” taste of these as compared to a normal Banana. Since there seems to be some kind of confusion, I have updated to avoid misinterpretation.
- Whole wheat flour 2 cups
- Water to Knead
For Vazhakkai Podi
1. Wash and trim the ends of the Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai. Cut into two and steam in a Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes along with the skin. The Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai should be cooked about 3/4 and not very mushy. Remove and set aside for cooling.
2. Roast Channa Dal, Urad Dal and Red chillies with a drop of oil. Set aside for cooling. Make sure that you don’t add too much oil for roasting, when ground this must be dry.
3. When the parboiled Plaintain is cool, grate it finely along with the skin. Please don’t discard the skin, it is edible and very nutritious. Ensure that the banana is completely cool, else the gratings may be very mushy.
4. In a blender grind the roasted Channa Dal, Urad Dal and Red Chillies along with Hing and Salt to a fine powder.
5. Mix the grated Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai with the ground powder. Transfer to a Bowl.
1. Knead the Wheat flour with water and salt into a firm elastic dough, add a drop of ghee towards the end to finish. Set aside for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into round balls. Set aside some flour to dust while rolling.
2. Roll out one ball into a round of 4 inch diameter using a belan or rolling pin using some flour to dust. Ensure that the center is thick while the sides are rolled out thin.
3. Fill in 1 1/2 tbsp of filling in the center, bring the sides together from 5 to 6 points. Press gently. This should give you a flat round with filling inside.
4. Dust both sides of this flat stuffed round with some flour and roll out into a round of 5 inch diameter.
5. Cook both sides on a tawa on medium heat until brown spots. This makes one paratha stuffed with the Raw Banana/ Vazhakkai Podi.
6. Proceed similarly with the rest of the dough.