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How to Clean Banana Stem (Vazhaithandu) for Cooking

How to Clean Banana Stem (Vazhaithandu) for Cooking

My next post, “How to clean Banana Stem for cooking”, a prep task to make some delicious recipes with banana stem / vazhaithandu. I think I had written about how fond I am towards the banana plant. I had also mentioned it in a recent interview to Yumgoogle. Right from the leaf to the stem of a banana plant serves mankind in multiple ways. Hence I respect it a lot and for that reason, instead of including this prep work as part of another recipe post, wanted to dedicate a separate post for it.

banana stem

Most of them may not be aware that banana stem is in fact edible. It has been used for a long time in Asian cuisine, especially South Indian. It is well known for its numerous health benefits. Some of them worth noting are

– An excellent cure for Kidney stones. This is even recommended by doctor’s these days.
– Good for weight loss.
– Good for diabetic people.
– High in fibre content.
– Treat stomach ailments like acidity, constipation, etc.

While growing up, my mom used to make sure that she cooks banana stem atleast once a week. Even if she forgets, my dad would be sure to remind her. It is one of my dad’s favorite, just for its numerous health benefits. However, since I moved to US, I do not always find it at my local Indian supermarket. Even when I find it rarely, it is mostly not fresh or too expensive. However, when I saw a fresh one during this weekend shopping, I was more than happy to pounce upon the opportunity. My mom usually prepares poriyal or kootu with the vazhaithandu, which is what I intend to do as well, unless I have any last minute thoughts 🙂 Be sure to check back tomorrow for a delicious and healthy recipe using this vazhaithandu.

How to clean banana stem (vazhaithandu) for cooking

Cleaning Banana Stem

Revathi Palani
A step by step process of prep and clean banana stem (Vazhai thandu) to make delicious South Indian recipes like poriyal and kootu.
Total Time 15 mins
Course Prep
Cuisine Indian
Servings 1


  • Banana Stem - 1
  • Water - as needed
  • Yogurt / Lemon extract - about 1 tsp


  • Banana stem typically has two types of layers. A hard inner layer which is edible. A porous outer layer which has to be discarded. Make a slit on the outer layer and remove it. You should be left with just the hard inner layer.

    banana stem  banana stem
  • Use a peeler to gently scrape of some of the hard inedible portions of the inner layer.

    banana stem  banana stem
  • Now slice the stem into circles. While cutting you will get a lot of thread like fibers sticking to the knife. Use your hand to pull those fibers apart and discard them.

    banana stem  banana stem
  • Now chop of the circles into small cubes. Add the chopped banana stem to a bowl of water. Add a little bit of yogurt or lemon extract to the water and mix well, to prevent the banana stem from colorization. Keep immersed for 10 mins.

    banana stem  banana stem
  • Take 2 small wooden sticks ( I used a wooden skewer), immerse it into the water and gently move it in a rotating motion. Once you pull out the stick outside, you will see some fiber sticking to the stick. Discard the fiber and repeat the process for a couple more times.

    banana stem  banana stem
  • The banana stem is now ready to be turned into a delicious recipe.

    banana stem

Notes | FAQ

- Choose a young banana stem for cooking. It will have comparatively less fiber to clean up.
Recipe Rating

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