Vaazhaka Masala (Raw Banana Curry)

Raw Bananas/Plantains are a staple in southern Indian cooking. The more typical preparation involves sautéing them dry with spices and salt, but this gravy version is a departure from the usual. The combination of dried red chillies, coconut and cumin with the soft raw bananas makes a harmoniously delicious curry.

Ingredients
Serves 4-6

6 raw banans/plantains
1 tsp turmeric powder
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
6-7 dried red chillies
1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
2 cups water
2 tsp + 1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Method

Keep a large bowl of room temperature water ready to put the bananas in. They tend to oxidize and turn brown, so once peeled, they need to be in water while handling them.

Peel the raw bananas, chop into half horizontally across. Drop all the pieces into water while preparing to chop. Now cut each piece into half lengthwise. Split again down the middle lengthwise and slice thinly into half moon shape. Make sure all the pieces are immersed in water.

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Bring 1 cup of water to a boil over high heat in wide bottomed sauté pan. Add a tsp of turmeric along with 1 tsp salt.

Drain all the water that the banana pieces are soaking in, and drop the pieces into the turmeric water that is boiling. Cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

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Uncover and check to confirm that the vegetable is cooked perfectly. The pieces should be soft to the bite, but still hold its shape. Test by trying to squeeze a piece with your fingers, and you should feel no resistance.

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Blend garlic, coconut, 1/4 tsp salt, cumin and coriander seeds with 1 cup of water into a smooth puree.

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Pour this over the cooked veggie and mix well. Add another cup of water to get a curry like consistency along with the remaining tsp of salt. Bring to a gentle boil, and let cook for another 5 minutes.

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Check and adjust for salt if needed. Add the chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

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It is just divine served over a bed of freshly cooked basmati rice along with a dollop of ghee.

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