Vazhakkai Podimas (Mashed Raw Banana)

I like podimas of any type. Podimas means mashed or grated. I have previously posted the recipes for sweet potato and potato podimas. This is a typically South Indian dish – though I am not sure which state it actually belongs to. I suspect it it Thamizhnadu. When I prepare podimas from sweet potato or just potato, there is no need to peel the vegetable. However, the skin of raw banana is quite tough and difficult to cook. The cooking times of the skin of the raw banana and the fleshy inside part take vastly different times to cook – which leads to a dilemma. Should we cooking the skin (making the flesh inside overcooked) or vice-versa? So, though I don’t remove the skin of most vegetables while cooking, this is one dish where I do remove the outer skin. That’s the reason why I make this dish rarely.

Vazhakkai Podimas

2 raw bananas
1 onion (optional)
1/4 cup grated coconut
Juice of 1 small lemon
Salt to taste
To Temper
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
3/4 tsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
3 dried red chilis, each broken into two
2 green chilis, chopped fine
1″ piece ginger, chopped fine
1 sprig curry leaves
Pressure cook the raw bananas with skin for 1 whistle (you can also cook on a stove top, but will take longer)
The bananas should be soft but not mushy
Remove from flame and set aside to cool
Once cool, remove the skin and grate the inner flesh (use the big holes of the grater)
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
Once they begin to splutter, add the Bengal gram, split black lentils, dried red chilis and curry leaves
Roast till the lentils turn golden brown
At this point, add the onion (if using), green chilis, ginger and salt
Sauté till the onion turns translucent
Add the grated bananas and cook on low heat for about 2 minutes
Finally, add the grated coconut and mix well
Switch off flame and add the juice of lemon
Mix well
Serve at room temperature with steamed red/brown rice
In fact, this dish also tastes wonderful with Indian flat breads

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