My 284th recipe, “Vazhaithandu Kootu (Banana Stem with Dal)”, a healthy and flavorful South Indian side made with banana stem and moong dal. After gobbling upon crispy fried onion samosas and delicious mocha cookies during the week, it is now time to wrap up the week on a slightly healthy note.
Banana stem is one of those nutritious ingredients known to mankind. I had mentioned about some of the known benefits of consuming banana stem in my earlier post. It is just not based on some random facts. When my doctor found me to be anemic few years ago on a routine check up, he had actually recommended my mom to give me banana stem atleast once every week. The health benefits of a banana stem are so well known in South India that it is being recommended even by a doctor.
Before marriage, my mom used to diligently follow the doctor’s words and made banana stem every week without fail. It would be usually in the form of a sambar or poriyal or this delicious vazhaithandu kootu. Even though I was not very fond of vazhaithandu, I still ate it for its health benefits or atleast for my mom’s insistence 🙂 However, when I started cooking on my own after marriage, I happily skipped the routine of cooking vazhaithandu every week. The fact that I couldn’t get hold of it easily at super markets made for an valid case to defend myself. However, only recently I have started slowly going back to the healthy routine. If I cant include this vazhaithandu as part of my diet every week, I make my best effort to include it atleast once every month.
I love making South Indian kootu, since it is one of those recipe which is quick and easy to make. Also, it is so versatile that I sometimes have it as a side for rice, sometimes as a side for dosa, chapati, etc. and it also goes well when mixed along with rice. You can also never go wrong when making a kootu, hence this becomes the perfect recipe for first time cook or bachelors. And as usual, an easy recipe doesn’t mean that there is compromise in flavor. This vazhaithandu kootu is extremely flavorful with the addition of ground onion jeera paste and the tempering has all the right magic to transform it from being good to WOW 🙂
- Moong Dal - 1/4 Cup
- Water - 2 Cups + 3/4 Cup
- Onion - 1 small (sliced)
- Jeera - 1 tsp
- Tomato - 1 small
- Green Chilli - 1 slit
- Vazhaithandu | Banana stem - 1 heaping Cup (cleaned and finely chopped)
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
- Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
- Sambar powder - 1/2 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp (adjust per taste)
- Oil - 2 tsp
- Mustard - 1/4 tsp
- Broken Urad Dal - 1 tsp
- Jeera - 1/2 tsp
- Dry Red Chilli - 1
- Curry leaves - 1 sprig
- First clean and chop the banana stem as shown in my earlier post.
- Add the moong dal along with 2 Cups of the water to a large pan. Cook the dal in medium flame until fully done.
- Meanwhile, grind 2 Tbsp of the sliced onion, jeera and about 1/4 Cup water in a mixie/blender to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
- Once the dal is fully cooked, add all the remaining ingredients (remaining sliced onion, tomato, chilli, banana stem, turmeric, asafoetida, sambar powder and salt) to the cooked dal. Also, add the ground paste to the pan Mix well. Cook covered until the banana stem is fully cooked. Turn off the flame.
- Heat the oil in a separate pan and add the mustard seeds. Once mustard seeds sputters, add the remaining ingredients under "To temper", in the given order. Saute until the urad dal turns golden brown. Turn off the flame. Add the tempering to the cooked banana stem and dal. Mix well.
- Serve hot.
- - Adding ground onion and jeera paste enhances the flavor of the kootu. It is best not to skip it.
- - While adding onion jeera paste add extra water as per desired consistency.