Huff-puff! I am finally here :-D. I had promised dear Mandira that i would be posting my entry for JFI-Banana over the weekend.....which just flew by ;). So, here i am, i my usual late-lateef avatar, posting a last minute entry for JFI, one of my favorite events. JFI celebrates one special ingredient each month and was envisaged by dear Indira from Mahanandi.
I love bananas as a fruit, they are just yummy! They help energize a tired mind, as they boost the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. My favorite way of having bananas is as a chaat, with cut bananas, guavas, with some cayenne pepper, salt and lime juice thrown in to jazz it up :). Or as spicy banana raita. Or as such! I particularly love the lil' Yellaki bananas that we used to get in Bangalore. And as a vegetable, the plantain and raw bananas make my day as a part of Kalan, Undhiyu, Mocha ghanto and many more dishes :). Even the banana stem is edible and delicious. Read more here about bananas and plantains :).
My first experience of eating banana as a vegetable was really unique (kinda'). I was in fifth standard then, a lil' girl who would only think of school, playing and her cats, besides ofcourse food :-D. One of those days, the normal daily routine in our village came to halt, there was a curfew in the village.....for fifteen days, with just half an hour allowance time a day to buy essentials! No fresh vegetables and fruits would be in sight. Fortunately, we had a Kalpvriksha (as its been rightly referred to in ancient texts) planted in our haveli.....the banana tree came to our rescue, supplying us with the much needed freshness.....For those few days, we cooked and ate raw banana, enjoyed the ripe fruit and felt fortunate and blessed.....
I am pretty sure that the particular banana preparation that Mom made was more or less like arbi sabzi with gravy, somewhat like this. And indeed raw bananas and plantains work well like that, with or without eggplants. They also make yummy khatte kele ki sabzi, like here. Or a quick and delicious sabzi with Punjabi wadis. But all said and done, had it not been for the necessity driven consumption of raw bananas as a sabzi, i would not have discovered this goodness in life that early, certainly not in a Punju culinary way!
For JFI though, i wanted to make something different.....so i combined greens with raw plantain and gently spiced them. The result was delicious!
So here goes:
- 2 green plantains (cut into discs/circles)
- 1 (9 oz.) bag baby spinach (chopped)
- 1 heaped tsp. grated ginger
- 1/4 tsp. Shah-jeera (black cumin)
- A pinch of strong hing/asfoetida
- A pinch of turmeric (optional)
- Red chilli powder (to taste)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp. lime/lemon juice
- 1-2 green chillies
- A pinch of garam masala
- 2 tbsp. oil
Sending this with lots of love to dear Mandira. My apologies to you, sweetie, for the delay. Hope you'll enjoy it :).