Vaazhaipoo paruppu usili – Banana flower (Florets) Paruppusili
The banana tree (Banana Plantain) would play a major role in lives of Tamil People. We use every part of it for various purposes – it’s leaves, stems, flowers and fruits are all used for various purposes like for decorations, for serving, for desserts, for snacks and what not. Here is one less familiar dish made out of it’s flower called as “VAAZHAIPPOO”. The florets as such might not please your palate like other vegetables/ fruits but it is loaded with hell lots of nutrients and are mandatory in our diet. So, to make it more delicious, we prepare “PARUPPUSILI” out of it 🙂
Normally, paruppusili can be made using the vegetables like snake gourd (pudalangai), bitter gourd ( Pagarkai ), Broad beans (Avaraikkai /Bell beans)), Cluster beans (kothavarangai) , beans etc.
Being strict vegetarians, my mom would cook almost all the vegetables saying that only milk and vegetables would provide all the nutrients required for vegetarians. On the other hand, I, being a strict NON-VEGETABLErian used to refuse to eat all those vegetables and run away from them. But, I liked the flavor of that “PARUPPU” (Dhal) in the paruppusilis and my mom would just prepare the paruppusili without any vegetables for me. Then, I started growing up to be a health-freak and developed a liking for most of the vegetables. But, I could not tolerate this banana stem, bitter gourd and banana florets at all. So, I was just looking for some ways to make these delicious (at least palatable.. sighhhhh!!! ) and my MIL suggested to prepare paruppusili out of it.
I was thinking of giving it a try for long time and waiting for a good time (in other words, I was lazy) to prepare it. Yesterday, I was talking to my cousin-cum-bestie, who asked me to post a few recipes on “NAATTU KAIGARIGAL” i.e. vegetables specific to a particular region. She even suggested to prepare something related to raw bananas, so I chose its florets (Vaazhaippoo). Let’s see how to prepare “Vaazhai Poo Paruppusili”.
Vaazhaipoo paruppu usili (Plantain/banana flower Paruppu usili)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Oil – 5 tsp
Mustard (Kadugu) : 1 tsp
Asafoetida (Hing/ Perungayam) – A small pinch
Banana Florets – 2
Water – 3 cups or more ( for the Toor Dhal to be soaked in)
Curry leaves (Karuvepilai) – a few (as per your taste)
Toor dhal (Thuvaram paruppu) : 2 cups
Red Chillies : 5
Salt – As needed
To Clean the flower:
Salt water/Diluted Butter milk – Well Enough for the florets to be soaked in
Cilantro leaves ( Coriander leaves/Kothamalli Thazhai) – a few (as per your taste)
Soak the Toor dhal in water ( Water level should be well above the Dhal line) for 1 hour.
How to Prepare:
The preparation method is very easy except for the part where you have to clean and separate the banana florets from the flower.
Cleaning the Banana/Plantain Flower:
1) Fill a vessel with salt water or butter milk to put the cut banana florets. This would be used to keep the color of the florets, otherwise they would turn black.
2) Remove the outer purple colored layer insider which you can find a bunch of florets. You will have to remove all the layers to get the florets and the small part of edible stem.
a) The banana flower
b) After removing the first (outer ) purple layer
c) To extract the florets – Just hold them all together and just pull off
3) Every floret will have a small lengthy middle part (stalk) which would be difficult for us to cook/eat. So, this has to be removed which is the tricky part.
Stalk To be removed (Picture was taken after removal) :
How to remove the stalk:
a) First, just cut the upper part of the florets away so that that middle, lengthy stalks could be visible which we can then cut off easily. Cut off the heads by holding all the florets together.
b) Then, just hold the heads of the stalks together ( shown in the pic above) and pull apart from the edible part.
c) Rest are all edible and cut them into fine pieces (Once the hard stalk is removed, we can easily chop the florets).
d) Repeat the process for all the florets until you get the final edible stem. This needs not be discarded. This can also be cut into fine pieces and added with the florets.
4) As and when you cut the florets, put them in salt water/diluted butter milk to retain the color.
1) Pressure cook the cut florets in a cooker by adding very little water ( Sprinkling well would do) for 2 -3 whistles.
2) Meanwhile, squeeze the water completely from the soaked Toor dhal and grind with red chilles and salt.
3) Heat Oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. When it begins to splutter, add curry leaves.
4) Then, add the dhal mixture and hing (Asafoetida) to it and saute until it turns mild golden brown. Add more oil in this part, if needed.
5) Once the dhal mixture is well-cooked, add the pressure-cooked Vaazhai POO (Banana florets) and saute for 3- 5 minutes on medium flame.
6) Keep sauteing until the dhal and vaazhai-poo mix well with each other and then, switch the stove off (Check for the salt, without fail).
7) Garnish with Coriander leaves and serve hot 🙂
1) Your fingers and nails might get stained by the florets. So would your knife and cutting board. So, wash them immediately after cutting.
2) My Granny suggested to apply Gingelly oil and then wash it off with Shikakai after cleaning and chopping the florets to remove those stains.
3) I ran out of cilantro today 🙁 But, I would strongly recommend cilantro and curry leaves for a nice aroma and flavor (Don’t think that they are optional). This would not only enhance the taste but also would have a good impact on your health/hair.
4) The cleaning part may be very tough and messy but it is worth the health benefits of banana florets 🙂 So, do include this in your menu atleast once in three weeks.
5) My Granny told that few people would steam-cook the Toor Dhal mixture. But, Just sauteing it well by adding an extra spoon of Oil would suffice. If you want, you can try that also.
6) Spread enough news papers around you so that you can save a few tiles/things from getting stained black.
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