Vazhapoo (Banana Flower) – 1 florets picked and immediately dunked in buttermilk
Kadalai Paruppu/Channa dal – ¾ cup soaked in water for an hour
Onion – 2 medium chopped fine
Green chillies – 2-3
Garlic with peel – 6-8 pods
Fennel seeds/Sombu – 2 tsp
Coriander leaves – ¾ cup leaves finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Pick the florets from the vazhaipoo and immediately dunk in buttermilk to avoid discolouration. As you peel away the big maroon petals, you’ll find thin cream coloured florets at the base of the flower. These are the florets that you’ll be using in your vadai. Pluck these florets. These florets will contain the cream coloured outer covering, a small transparent, plastic like flap in front (which needs to be discarded) and thin strands inside. Among these thin strands you’ll find one which is thin filament like with a slightly bulging top (needs to be discarded). Pluck the florets and discard the plastic flap and the filament inside. Dunk the rest in buttermilk. Set aside or refrigerate if you’re using it the next day.
Grind the soaked channa dal along with salt and very little water to a coarse paste. Set aside.
Grind together green chillies, garlic and fennel seeds to a coarse paste. Set aside.
Drain the buttermilk and squeeze out the liquid and grind/pulse the vazhaipoo florets just for half a minute or so. The florets should just be minced but not ground fine.
Mix together ground vazhaipoo, channa dal, green chilli masala and finely chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Taste and adjust salt. Don’t add water. The consistency of the vadai mixture should be similar to that of the masala vadai.
Heat oil in a kadai. Wet your palms lightly, take small lemon sized balls of the vadai mixture and make thin discs on your palm. Slide gently into the oil when the oil is hot. Cook on medium-high till the vadais are cooked through and golden. Continue deep-frying in batches. Remove onto absorbent paper. Serve hot.
Picking the vazhaipoo florets can stain your hands. So oil your hands before and wash with salt after you’re done picking.
While buying vazhaipoo, lift the outermost petal of the flower to peek at the florets within. These florets should be cream in colour. If they’re brown or black they’re no good, don’t buy them.
Soak the vazhaipoo florets in buttermilk to avoid browning. You can leave the buttermilk soaked florets overnight in the refrigerator.
As you get to the centre of the flower, the florets get smaller and smaller. Here you may not find the plastic flap like covering at all. Just pinch the top bulb like portion to remove the filament and use the rest. The teeny tiny florets inside you can use as is without discarding any part of them.
Recipe credits : http://foodbetterbegood.blogspot.in