Vazhai-poo vadai, or banana blossom fritters is a known delicacy in South India. But it is time consuming to make. Of course, if we have someone do the cleaning of the banana blossoms, then it is a breeze to make. But it tastes simply awesome and is a very rewarding experience for all the trouble put in.
An average banana blossom makes around 18 - 20 vadas.
Bengal gram (channa dal or kadalai paruppu) - 1 cup
Flowerettes of 1 banana blossom (See post for cleaning tips)
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp (required to remove the raw taste and smell of banana blossom)
Red chillies - 2-3
Curry leaves - 4-5
Coriander leaves - 1tbsp, finely chopped
Salt - to taste
Oil - for frying
Boil the banana blossom flowerettes and drain the excess water.
Soak the bengal gram or kadalai paruppu in normal water for 2 hours.
Grind the soaked dal, boiled flowerettes and red chillies, curry leaves, coriander leaves, garam masala and salt into a coarse paste.
Make balls the size of a small lemon, of the vada paste. Keep aside and flatten them out just before dropping them in oil. .
Heat oil in a deep, heavy bottomed kadai. When the oil is hot enough, drop a few of the flattened balls of vada paste. Fry until lightly brown on one side, then flip over and fry until the other side also goes brown.
Serve hot with chutney or sauce.
Verdict: In our household, any form of vada or cutlet is a hit. Even my little girl loves these preparations. Given that these taste so yummy compared to their dal counterparts (read masala vada or urad dal vada), there is no dearth of takers for this delicious side at tea-time.