1. Rinse the banana flower in cold water. Remove the one or two outermost leaves if they do not look fresh. Slice the banana flour into 3/4-inch thick pieces. Finely chop the pieces. Have a large bowl nearby to put the banana flower bits as you chop them. 

2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the garlic, ginger, urud dal and red chilies. When the garlic starts to turn golden brown, add the chopped onions, turmeric and coconut. In a few minutes add the red chili powder. Cook for a few more minutes.

3. Add the chopped banana flower pieces. Stir well to mix the seasonings. Add salt to taste and stir over low heat. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the banana flower turns dark in color, about 10 to 15 minutes.


- Serve with rice or chapathi. 

Below is a huge banana flower that was outside my hotel room on a recent trip to Hawaii. 


1 banana flower

2-3 Tbs oil

12 curry leaves

1/2 Tbs mustard seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 Tbs ginger, minced

2 tsp urud dal

3-4 whole red chilies

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 cup coconut, grated

1/2 tsp red chili powder

salt, to taste

Banana Flower Thoran [South Indian recipe]

Did you know that banana trees have flowers? You don’t see them in vases but, in India, you see them chopped and cooked. Each flower is about 10 inches long and weighs about a pound. They hang from the tree at the end of a long stem that is covered with bunches of maturing bananas. The petals, called bracts, are tightly wrapped around the bud in the center. The petals are edible and appear in many different dishes. Eaten raw, they are bitter and tough. Soaked in lemon juice for 30 or 40 minutes, their flavor becomes less bitter and more like a mild onion. 

I recently saw that my local Indian grocery store had a fresh supply of them so I thought it would be fun to experiment with a new dish. The banana flower, or Vaazha Koombu in Malayalam, is high in fiber as well as vitamins A and C. The resulting vegetarian recipe is fun way to add variety to any Indian meal.