Sunday, December 13, 2009

Srilankan Arati Puvvu Curry

Arati puvvu is Banana flower in English. Bananas are an integral part of the South east asian traditions, more so in India. Right from the leaves of the banana plant to the trunk, the flower and the fruits, bananas have been an orthodox south Indian kitchen’s main ingredient. So much that in most of our homes, the backyard is filled with Banana plants.

Banana flower curry or arati puvvu kura that we are writing now was taught to us by Kamala aunty. Thank you aunty. This is the Sri lankan way of making banana flower curry. High in fibre and protein content, banana flower curry or arati puvvu kura is a healthy as well as a yummy recipe.

Preparation time: 30-45 mins

Serves: 4

Small banana flower(Arati puvvu) 1
Whole green gram (Moong dal sabut/pesalu) 1 cup(200g)
Onion 1
Mustard seeds(aavalu) 1tsp
Cumin seeds(jeera/jeelakarra) 1tsp
Curry leaves 4-5
Green chillies(optional) 2
Grated fresh coconut 1 cup
Refined cooking oil 4 tsp
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste

Generally in Andhra and Karnataka, we remove the outer layers of the banana flower that seem like its petals and cook the inner pollen kind of white substances. But for this curry we shall use the petals portion that is the red/maroon and purplish outer petals.

Wash the flower as a whole and finely chop like we chop cabbage. There is a hard inner crust that keeps coming in the way while chopping. As we are chopping, we keep removing the hard inner portion to get just the finely chopped petals. We can also keep the pollen kind of white substances aside to be used in our Andhra kind of curries.

Finely chop an onion (2 if the banana flower is medium sized or big).

Add a pinch of turmeric to the whole green gram and pressure cook upto 6 whistles.

In a kadai/pan(bandli/mookudu), add 4 tsp oil. Once hot add a tsp each of mustard and cumin seeds. Once they splutter add curry leaves and green chillies( the curry is essentially sweet and bland. But for those who prefer spicy food, finely chopped green chillies are optional).

Once the above tempering is done add the chopped onions and fry till golden brown. Add the finely chopped banana flower, a pinch of turmeric, salt to taste, cover and leave to cook on simmer for around 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle water if required. Once the flower feels soft and cooked, add the pressure cooked whole green gram and mix well. Since the gram is already cooked adjust the salt and switch the stove off.

Add 1 full cup of fresh and grated coconut to the curry just before serving and mix well.

Sri Lankan banana flower curry or aratipuvvu kura is ideally had with rice or the Malabar parathas. It also goes well with any of the Indian bread. It can also be served as a salad as it tastes awesome just like that. Another way is to serve is as prasadam during festivals like Varalakshmi vratham.Ganesh chaturthi, dussera when ladies are invited home for perantam or harshanekumkuma or Haldi kumkum(a la sundal or oosli).

Sri Lankan arati puvvu curry is a must try dish and one that we will keep on making again and again because it is simple and yet healthy.

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