Saturday 21 June 2014

Plantain Stem Poriyal (வாழைத்தண்டு பொரியல்)

Plantain stem is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium. Because of its high fiber content it helps to relieve constipation. In native medicine, plantain stem is believed to prevent kidney stones and is used to treat acidity. In Tamilian cuisine plantain stem is used to prepare poriyal, kootu, salad and juice. My grand mother used to cook plantain stem twice or trice a month as it has medicinal properties.

Ingredients: (Serves four)
Plantain stem – ¾ of a foot long, cut into small pieces (வாழைத்தண்டு)
Dried red chilli – 3 no (குண்டு மிளகாய் வத்தல்)
Salt – to taste
Moong dhal – 1 small hollow ladle or 50ml measure*
Buttermilk – 1 small hollow ladle
Curds – 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
Split urad dhal – ½ teaspoon
Cooking oil – 2 teaspoons
Asafoetida – a pinch
Grated coconut – 2 tablespoons
Curry leaves – a few

*You may use half-cooked toor dhal instead of moong dhal.

How to clean the plantain stem: Mix 300ml of water and a small hollow ladle of buttermilk in a bowl. Keep this bowl ready before staring to cut plantain stem.
Fig.1 - See the fibers stretching between the stem and cut piece
Make a shallow vertical slit on the plantain stem and remove the thick outer layer. This can be easily peeled off. Discard the outer layer. Inner stem is pearly white in color. Slice the stem into thin circular pieces as shown in the picture (Fig.1).

As you cut the stem, you will find fibers stretching between the cut circular piece and the stem. Roll the fibers around your finger and remove them (Fig.1). Now cut the circular piece into tiny bits (Fig-2) and immediately immerse the cut pieces in the buttermilk mixture kept ready, as plantain stem turns darker if exposed to air (Fig.3).
Plantain Stem Poriyal (வாழைத்தண்டு பொரியல்)
Method: Wash and soak moong dhal in water for 15-20 minutes. Heat oil in a kadai and fry red chillies till they turn darker in color. Add mustard seeds, when they start to sputter, add urad dhal and fry till the dhal turns golden brown. Add asafoetida and switch of the fire. Add the cut plantain stem pieces, curds, moong dhal and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook on a low flame. Once the vegetable is cooked well, add grated coconut, toss a few times and remove from fire. Garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with rice and rasam, sambar or kuzhambu. 

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