Vazhaipoo Vada / Plantain Flower & Lentil Fritters

VAZHA-POO VADAI ~ Plantain flower patties

Often side-steeped as “too much work”, the plaintain flower hasn’t been on the fav list for a lot of us. It was so, until I decided to pick up one at the Indian grocers and give it a try.

Source: Mom’s kitchen

Makes: 20 – 25 vadais depending on the size of each vadai

Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes prep + 20 minutes frying

Ingredients:

  1. Plantain flower or vazhai poo – 1 medium sized
  2. Channa Dal – 1 cup soaked for 2 hours
  3. Green chillies – 2 or 3 to taste
  4. Ginger – 1″ piece
  5. Hing – a pinch
  6. Coconut – 1 tbsp – grated/ shredded
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Curry leaves – a few
  9. Coriander leaves – a few stems
  10. Oil for frying

Cleaning the plantain flower:

  1. To clean and prepare the plantain flower, take off the outer covering (petals?) of the “flower” and remove the bunches of whitish colored florets
  2. On each floret, remove the inner stamen with the back tip and also take out the glassy-looking skin attached to the floret
  3. Cut the “de-stamen-ed” florets into small pieces
  4. Wash the chopped florets in water and keep it soaked in a thick buttermilk solution with some salt or in turmeric water in order to prevent dis-coloration

To make the vadais:

Try to use as little water as possible to the grinding process to make a stiff dough for the vadais

  1. Add the channa dal to a food processor or blender along with the other ingredients except the vazhai poo – you might not need too much water except a little dripping from the soaked chana dal.
  2. Blend or pulse until the mixture is coarsely ground
  3. Optionally, add in the vazhai poo and pulse one or two more times if you’d like a finer texture
  4. place small amounts of the mixture between your palms (lemon-sized balls) and flatten gently to form the vadais
  5. Heat oil in a deep frying pan and when sufficiently hot, add the vadais  and fry on med-high until done (medium in the beginning to allow the mixture to cook, and high towards the end to bring out the color). Fry in batches so as to not crowd the oil.
  6. Drain out the oil when removing from frying pan and place on kitchen towels to blot excess oil
  7. Serve hot with chutney or sauce of your choice

Notes:

  1. You can substitute the channa dal with roasted bengal gram dal (pottu kadalai) as a quick-fix.
  2. If you do not care to “see” the plantain flower in the vadais, you could skip chopping the florets and instead steam cook and grind the florets along with the channa dal to made the vadais.
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