Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vazhakkai Podimas

'Vazhakkai' is 'Raw banana' or 'Plantain'. The whole plant is so useful and I think in India, we pretty much have multiple uses for each and every part of it. 'Podimas', means any dish which is mashed. We also make 'Urulaikizhangu podimas' or it can also be called as 'Indian style Mashed potatoes'. Instead of mashing it and make it look like a blob (a tasty one though!), I grated it. You can use the same method for potatoes and make it this way. Hope you guys will like it! Made this way, you can serve it as even poha. Believe me, people who don't like plantain will not even know the difference!

4- Medium size Plantain
1/2 tsp-Channa dal
1/2 tsp-Turmeric
Salt to taste
5-Curry leaves
2-Broken red chillies
4-Finely chopped green chillies
1/4 tsp-Hing
1/2 tsp-Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp-Cumin
1 tsp-Freshly squeezed Lemon juice

1. Peel the plantain, cut into a half and boil it in water with little bit of turmeric and salt.
2. Cook for 3-5 min. Insert a knife and see if it slides out. Then, drain it and let it cool.
3. Once cool to touch. Grate it in the bigger size holes, so that it looks like shredded cheese used for pizza topping.
4. Heat a non-stick pan, add mustard seeds to splutter in oil and channa dal. Once it starts to brown add cumin seeds, curry leaves, chopped green chillies and broken red chillies.
5. Add a pinch of turmeric and salt to the oil and mix in the grated partially cooked plantain.
6. Cook it in a med. flame closing with a lid for the initial couple of min.
7. Then in order to let the excess moisture evaporate, cook it uncovered. Taste it to check the seasoning.
8. Now, put off the heat and add the lemon juice.

Can be served as a snack or as an accompaniment to Sambar or Rasam.

Variation: This dish can be made without adding Lemon juice and cumin seeds. Cook the plantain or the potatoes really well after peeling them in water after adding some turmeric and salt. Drain them and mash them well with a masher or a spatula. Take a non-stick pan, add oil , mustard sees, channa dal, curry leaves, hing , red chillies and salt. Add the mashed plantain or potatoes and cook until done. Now, instead of adding any of the other ingredients, grind together 1/2 cup of grated coconut and 5 green chillies and add it at the end. Mix it well and cook it for couple of more minutes. This is actually the authentic recipe for 'Podimas' but hey, nothing wrong in trying new flavors and short cuts to your fav. dishes, right!

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