Vazhakkai Poricha Kuzhambu (Raw Banana Curry)

Poricha Kuzhambu is a traditional dish from Thamizhnadu and Palakkad. This is a very common every day preparation in many households. Not only is it easy to prepare, it also tastes delicious. One can use any vegetables like eggplant, chayote squash, pumpkin, bitter gourd, drumstick, broad beans… Or any combination of these vegetables. I have used raw banana in the recipe today.
I have mentioned before that kuzhambus are tamarind based. This one is an exception – perhaps an misnomer. It has a unique taste. The addition of coconut gives the dish a body and works as a binder. All in all, a wonderful dish to serve on any occasion.

Vazhakkai Poricha Kuzhambu

1/3 cup pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
2 cups cubed raw bananas
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi. manjal podi)
Roast And Grind
1 1/2 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1/2 tsp black pepper corns (sabut kali mirch, kuru milagu)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
3 dried red chilis
1/4 cup grated coconut
To Temper
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1 sprig curry leaves
Pressure cook the pigeon peas in a pressure cooker with sufficient water for 5-6 whistles
Let the steam release naturally
Open the lid and mash the pigeon peas
Set aside
Add the raw banana to a saucepan and add sufficient water to cover the pieces
Add salt and turmeric powder
Cook till the bananas are tender (reserve stock, if any)
Set aside
Heat a wok and add split black lentils, peppercorns, red chilis and cumin seeds
Roast till the lentils turn golden brown
Switch off the flame and add grated coconut
Stir and let the coconut roast in the heat of the wok
Cool the mixture and transfer to a blender
Grind to a smooth paste, using the reserved stock or a little water
Set aside
Heat a wok and and mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add asafoetida, curry leaves, cooked bananas, cooked pigeon peas, 1/2 cup water, salt and the ground paste
Bring to a boil
Then simmer for 3-4 minutes
Remove from flame
Serve hot with steamed red/brown rice or millet rice

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