On their own, banana blossoms are can be slightly bitter, but when added to this south Indian dry curry, the crunchy, creamy-coloured bracts take on all the flavours of this aromatic dish. Fresh coconuts are available from selected supermarkets, but you can use frozen grated coconuts as an alternative.
- 2 banana blossoms
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 dried red chilli, crushed
- 20 curry leaves
- 3 cm piece ginger, grated
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 120 g (1 cup) fresh coconut, grated (see Note)
- 125 ml (½ cup) settled coconut cream (see Note)
- steamed rice, naan and eggplant and mango chutneys, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Remove purplish-red outer bracts from banana blossoms. Discard flower-like clusters and chop inner bracts into 3 cm pieces. Place in a bowl filled with 2 litres water, lemon juice and 1 tbsp salt, to prevent browning. Cut the banana blossom cores in half, roughly chop and add to acidulated water.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and cook, shaking pan, for 2 minutes or until seeds begin to pop. Add onions, chilli, curry leaves, ginger and turmeric, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onions are golden. Remove from heat.
Drain banana blossoms. Return pan to medium heat, add banana blossoms, grated coconut and coconut cream, and cook for 2 minutes or until heated through and banana blossoms have changed colour. Serve with rice, naan and chutneys.
• Fresh coconuts are from supermarkets. Cut open, extract the flesh and use a box or coconut grater to grate it. Although it has a slightly different texture, you can substitute frozen shredded coconut.
• When coconut cream and coconut milk cans are left undisturbed, a thick layer of coconut cream settles on top of the liquid. Carefully open the cans and scoop out this layer of coconut cream.
Photography by Janyon
As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.