RECIPE FOR BANANA FLOWER: MOCHAAR GHONTO

Step 1: Soak the banana flower overnight in salt, turmeric and lemon juice (only applicable if the flower is from an unripebanana plant).

 

Step 2: Next day, wash and boil the flower with little salt and turmeric. This is to infuse flavor and remove the astringent quality from the vegetable.

 

Step 3: Finely chop the banana flower (mocha) after removing the stem from within. If the stem is not removed, it doesn’tsoften even after cooking.

 

Step 4: Dice potatoes, add salt and turmeric to it. Sautee on the side for a few minutes.[1]

 

Step 5: For added flavoring, sliced coconut can be fried and kept aside.

 

Step 6: In a pan, add a few tablespoons of mustard, sunflower or peanut oil. [2]

 

Step 7: To this heated oil, add a bay leaf, 2-3 cardamom pods, an inch of cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, 1 teaspoon of cumin powder and half a cup of chopped tomato. Once the oil separates, add the chopped and boiled mocha, potato and fried coconut to this mix. Cook on medium heat, until the vegetables are soft.

[1]Potatoes are added in Bengali dishes to give body to the recipe. Food shortages being rampant due to famines, large families used potatoes as an innovative solution for increasing the quantity of most dishes. It is optional to use it in this dish.

 

[2] The type of oil used varies as per different typology. West Bengal, being anup (marshy land), kapha and vata get easily aggravated. Hence, food is always cooked in mustard oil, which has a natural heating property. Because I am in the Bay area where the weather is more of a sadharana kind (combination of marshy and dry), I tend to use sunflower oil (in summer) or ghee (in winters).