Recently Fairtrade Original introduced Banana blossoms in a can and I attended an online workshop to make Thai fish cakes using banana blossoms. But I had to try my all time favorite Mocha’r ghonto that I haven’t had in the last 3 years and wanted to check if a canned version of this vegetable can do the job right. What do you think? These cans are for sale at any Albert Heijn across the Netherlands.
What is a Banana Blossom and why this craze?
Banana blossom is literally the purple colored flower that hangs from the banana plant and after a few weeks you have new bananas to eat. Banana plant has been sacred to most Eastern communities. In Bengal (from where I come from) – a banana plant is draped in saree and is considered as the wife of Lord Ganesha during the biggest annual festival – Durga Puja. She is called Kolaboti (kola = stands for banana).
In Bengal not just the banana but the flower and even the stem is eaten. The raw banana is ofcourse a well known vegetable and the skin of the raw banana is also used as a chutney. Meals are served on banana leaf and fish/meat is steamed in the banana leaf as well. Overall the entire banana plant never goes wasted.
Mocha (pronunced as mo-cha as in the cha from chai) is the Bengali word for Banana blossom and there are a lot of recipes using it but I decided to try my favorite. I remember last time making Mocha’r Ghonto with my mother in 2018 in Kolkata. Peeling the actual flower takes a long time and your fingers needs to be well greased with oil (mustard oil in our case).
So here I decided to give this recipe a try using a canned version and boy oh boy I think I had one of my best meals ever. I don’t think I have licked my fingers so much in a long time. Mocha’r Ghonto is often dreaded because of the hardwork but all that can be forgotten with this recipe.
- Drain the contents of the can through a sieve and wash it under under running water for 10 seconds.
- Roughly chop the drained banana blossom on a chopping board and keep it aside to be used later.
- In a pan add oil and add dried red chilli, cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom, clove and cinnamon. Fry on a medium heat for 2 mins.
- Add the potatoes to the pan. Grate the ginger root and add the grated ginger along with green chilli to the pan and cook for 2 mins.
- Add the chopped banana blossom along with salt to the pan and mix well. Cook for 10 mins.
- Add the spices – turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder and garam masala. Mix well and cook everything with a lid on for 15 mins. Stir occasionally. (This stage allows the flavors to infuse in the banana blossom)
- Add the grated coconut, ghee and mix well. Stir well and cook this on a high heat for 5 mins.
- Finish the dish with some sugar and salt if necessary and that’s it. It is ready to be served.
The texture of the final dish is very much like fish or crumbled fish and it tastes just divine. I paired it with plain white rice and red lentil daal (Pyaaj diye mushurir daal – the recipe for this will come soon).
Hope you give this recipe a try soon and do let me know if you have more ideas of what all I can try with banana blossoms.