Sarika tells us the many benefits banana trees. Its flower, known as Kolar Mocha, is a vegetarian delicacy in Bengal. Here’s the recipe, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Kala lagiye na keto pat
Tatei pakap tatei mota bhat
(Don’t destroy the leaves of a planted banana, it will give you all food and clothing).
The banana tree is one of the trees which is considered a token of prosperity, is used almost every part of India. It has several ayurvedic and economical values.
We Bengalis use every bit of the banana trees, from top to bottom. We eat bananas both raw and ripe. We cook and eat its flowers and the inner stem, very deliciously. Leaves are used for rituals and to steam food. Researches shoe that works very well as anti-depression medicine. We also use banana peels for chips and dips. Apart from this, a banana for your breakfast makes your day perfect. Some people even use a banana for face pack! What else could we ask for?
My grandparents’ farm house has many banana and other plants. Now, coming to the mocha or banana flowers – it is one of the pure vegetarian dish, which goes very well as a side dish in Bengali households. Here pure vegetarian signifies no onion and garlic are required to prepare this particular dish, as we Bengalis consider both onion and garlic as non-vegetarian. No, I am not going to discuss the reasons behind it, rather I will share the recipe. It is one of my favourite too. Only the cleaning part is a bit time consuming, but once you are done that the rest is easy.
Here we go!
Kolar Mocha (Banana flower)
Kolar Mocha or Banana flower: 1 medium size
Potato: Two medium size
Turmeric Powder: ½ teaspoon
Chilli Powder: One or half teaspoon
Cumin Powder: One teaspoon
Garam Masala Powder: ½ teaspoon (you may add little more).
Clarified Butter: One teaspoon
Mustard oil preferably: One tablespoon
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
Bay leaves: 2
Take out each flower from the inflorescence very carefully and cut off the anther from it, for me it is most difficult part or very lengthy.
Now chop the flowers as finely as possible.
Add all the chopped flowers in a deep pan with water for boiling.
Let it boil. Drain the water and keep it aside.
Heat the oil in a wok and fry the potatoes chunks till tender. Take out the potatoes and keep it aside.
To the left over oil add bay leaves and cumin seeds.
After that add the spices except for ghee and garam masala, fry for 30 seconds.
Throw in the boiled flowers and mix the spices well with it.
Add the potatoes and pour in some water for the vegetables to get cooked constantly.
Simmer the flame and stir it often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add extra water if it is not cooked properly.
Just before taking it out of the flame sprinkle garam masala powder and ghee; mix well.
Serve it with hot steamed rice as a side dish.
©Sarika Sarkar Das
Photos by the author.
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