Friday, December 5, 2014

Simple Raw Banana Stir Fry - Vazhakkai poriyal

This conversation started just like lot of other water cooler conversations. Not exactly a water cooler but a refrigerator water dispenser but you know what I mean. I was heating my lunch and we got into a conversation with a colleague about what I was having for lunch and home cooked meals. She asked if I cook everyday. Pretty much everyday I told her and the main reason being I needed lunch for the next day. She called me a "superwoman" because I was able to cook besides having two kids.

There are folks who eat lunch outside every single day. I feel kind of bleh and bloated after such outings and skip dinner so I prefer a home cooked meal. The secret is however bland or tasteless the food is, miraculously at lunch time the food will feel so very tasty. That is what an empty stomach will do your taste buds.

The truth is you don't have to be a super woman to cook every single day, just a few recipes that provide a good meal after a long day at work. You do not have to be a great cook either just a willingness to spend 30-45 minutes in the kitchen enlisting the help of family members wherever and whenever possible. A few minutes will pay dividends in terms of physical and economic health.

At DD2s basket ball practice a dad was talking about how his wife is not in a mood to cook after a long day at a job she does not like and dealing with bosses who are nasty. He said while he tries to do the best he can his wife takes a laissez faire attitude towards meals in general because she is too tired and beat. Since kids take meal cues from the mothers most of the time and she gives them permissions for eating whatever since she was not in a mood to be disturbed his attempts have been a failure. I learned an important lesson. If you have kids and are that lazy parent at least don't undermine the efforts of the other person trying to do the right thing. The sad thing is the foods lessons the kids learn at an early age is what they take with them all through life.

I am happy about the fact that the DDs eat mostly what is offered to them without much fuss. They are not picky and know how to differentiate between good and bad foods I hope. They have tried a variety of foods and don't have the choice of pizza or macaroni and cheese just because they don't like the "Indian Food" mom makes all the time. I have heard this complaint from quite a few parents that their kids don't eat "Indian Food" and they have to make something not spicy bland for their kids like pizza or macaroni and cheese. When we were young we grew up eating what everybody ate. I am not sure why it should be different now.

I know time is a luxury and most everyone have to deal with long commutes or nasty bosses or a job that they do not like but this simple act of getting into the kitchen and setting right what has been a long day will have beneficial consequences that goes much beyond dollars and cents alone.

All that talk is to reiterate the fact that there are simple recipes like this one which goes very well with the Kale paruppu. Both together will take approximately less than half an hour if done simultaneously. I am totally convinced that much time is not too much to ask of even very very busy people.

Peel the raw banana and cut into small dices.
Place the cut bananas in a pot of water to prevent discoloration. Heat the pan with oil and add in the seasonings.
Add the onions and saute till translucent. Add the chopped raw bananas and let it cook in medium heat till it starts to get a bit soft.
Add the sambhar powder and salt. Give it a good mix and continue to cook till soft and fully cooked.

So without more talk I will get into the recipe. I usually precook the bananas before adding spices like this Fry or this podimas.

Simple Raw Banana Stir Fry
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:20 minutes
  1. 3-4 raw bananas
  2. 1/4 cup chopped onions
  3. 1/2 tbsp sambhar powder or 2-3 tsp of chili powder
  4. 1 tsp yogurt (optional for soaking the cut bananas)
  5. seasonings: split white urad dal (1 tsp), cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves
  6. salt to taste
  7. 1 tsp oil

  1. Peel the bananas and cut them into small dices. Put them in a pan of water mixed in with a tsp yogurt/buttermilk. This keeps the banana pieces from discoloring.
  2. Heat oil in a wide mouthed pan and when hot add the split urad dal first, when it starts to turn brown add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the mustard starts to pop add the curry leaves, followed by the onions.
  3. Wait for the onions to turn translucent and add the chopped raw banana and let it cook in medium heat till it is just starts to get soft (about 8 minutes). There is no need to add water but if it sticks too much just sprinkle a few tsp of water.
  4. Add the sambhar powder and salt and let cook till it is soft and fully cooked (another 5-6 minutes).
Serve as side with rice and dal.

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