Vazhapoovu is not something you buy every week (especially because it isn’t available in the Indian grocery store we frequent). Any guesses as to where this one was bought? No? Well, this was from the Chinese supermarket chain called Ranch 99. Even though their store stinks of seafood (I am sorry, but it is quite unbearable), their produce section is always well stocked and reasonably priced. They also have a decent bakery section, with interesting varieties of breads.
Let’s not move away from the star of the day, the banana flower. We were at the store recently and decided to buy the flower, especially because my husband’s aunt was here and she offered to make the vadas. When we finally got around to making the vadas, diligently cleaned and chopped the flower for me. Thanks to her patience, we had some mouth-watering vadas to go with our evening tea on a lovely Sunday evening. Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of the cleaning process. So please visit How to Clean a Banana Flower for more information.
Chana dal (split Bengal gram) – 1 cup
Finely chopped banana flower – ½ cup
Finely chopped onion – ½ cup
Dried red chili – 1 or 2
Saunf (fennel seeds) – 2 tsps
Finely chopped ginger – 1 tsp
Oil for deep-frying + 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Soak the chana dal for at least 2 hours. If you do not have enough time, soak it in hot water for an hour.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan. Sauté the onions and banana flower until the flower is tender, about 5 minutes. Keep aside. Drain the soaked dal and grind into a coarse paste along with the red chili(s). Add the sautéed banana flower and onion, saunf, ginger, and salt. Mix well. Heat oil for deep-frying. Depending on the size of vadas you want to make, take a tablespoon or two of the dal mixture and roll into balls. Flatten into discs and fry until the vadas darken to a nice deep reddish-brown. Remove onto a plate lined with tissue paper and allow the excess oil to drain. Serve hot. Bon Appétit.