Banana Pith Thoran, Kakdi Koshimbir, Chapati and Coconut chutney
It was lunch time and Seema mentioned her Mom had packed Banana pith thoran for her box. I was curious. It reminded me of my friends at Mumbai University had commented once that Bengalis and Malyalis never waste anything they grow. They eat all the ghaass phoos. The Bengali went on to tell how potatoes are deskined for currying and the skins turn into a roast. While all things banana have a recipe among the Malayalis said the other. I didn't have the heart to touch the banana pith sabji that my Bengali or Malyali friends ate in their lunch box atleast one a week. But then I was a young girl with all my prejudices in place. Now having got rid of them this time seeing it in Seema's box I wanted to taste it. Well I'll soon cross over an age milestone and am happy I am still adventurous, incase of food its more evident though! I picked up a bit and liked the subtle flavor. It was a simple stir fry but Seema told me that when her Mom has more time she adds ground cocomut masala to it.
To prepare the banana stem for this stir fry or Thoran as it is called in Kerala, remove the outer layer. Chop of thin disc from the ends to get fresh white and clean ends of the log. Chop up into tiny even sized bits. Seema had told me that among Keralites they use a kitchen contraption to remove the extra fibres in the pith. I have never seen any thing like she explained and was unable to even visaulize what it might look like. It is put in the center and rotated and out come the fibres! This must be like a curd beater used to make buttermilk! OR is it like a Baby's feeder bottle brush? Seema was not of much help to derive and conclude. So I decided to keep the fibres. The next morning they will prove their worth anyways I thought aloud.
So here is the recipe.
A small log of banana stem (2X4 inch) cleaned and chopped to bits
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
a sprig of curry leaves
salt to taste
2 teaspoons oil
For the masala
1 green chili
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Heat oil in a wok. Make the seasoning with mustard, curry leaves then add the banana pith bits. Sprinkle the turmeric over it and give it a stir. Add the salt and mix once. Cover and cook for 10 mins.
Meanwhile grind the masala to a coarse consistency. Remove the lid and add the coarse ground coconut and stir to mix. Cover and cook for another 5 to 7 mins.
Serve with chapati or with rice. The thoran is quite dry so have a koshimbir or wet chutney at hand like I did.