Banana flowers are formed in bunches – just like a bunch of ripe banana. They’re covered by dark maroon coloured bracts. We Bengalis love this banana flower as vegetable and prepare a delicious vegetarian dish of it.
Cleaning and cutting of Banana flower:- (It’s a pretty complicated thing to write in words – but i will try)
Remove the bract. Then cut the flower bunch from the main flower stem. Beneath the flower bunch there would be another bract – beneath which would be another flower bunch. So they form a layer of flower bunch and bract. Cut all the flower bunches and keep aside and throw all the bracts. At the tip of the banana flower – there would be no more bracts but a solid tip …. consisting of light yellowish colour bracts and flower bunches. Finely chop the solid tip.
To clean the flower bunches :-
Remove the cover (a semi-transparent glossy cover) of each single flower from the flower bunch. This glossy cover tasted slightly bitter – so it should be removed. Also remove the female stigma as it remains hard even after the whole cooking is done and the dish is ready to serve. So it is better to remove it in the first place.
Cooking method :-
Stem the chopped “mocha” in water with little salt and turmeric powder – this is added so that the colour of the vegetable remains beautiful … and doesn’t turn to blackish in colour. Also add little veg. Oil – so that the “mocha” doesn’t stick to the cooking utensil. When the “mocha” become little soft … drain the water and keep it aside.
In a deep pan pour little oil – add tej pata (bay leaves) – methi (fenugreek seeds) and slitted green chillies. Stir. When methi turn dark brown (not black) – add the stemmed “mocha”. Stir well. Then add cumin seed powder – salt to taste and turmeric. Mix them well with the veg. Let it cook for sometime – when it is nearly done – add 2 pinch of sugar and 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter). Stir well and let it cook for another 2 minutes. When done – serve with stemmed plain rice. Enjoy !!