Monday, October 1, 2007

Plantain-Palak sabzi :)

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 i combined greens with raw plantain and gently spiced them. The result was delicious!

So here goes:

Plantain-palak sabzi:

We need:

  • 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
First, lets peel the plaintains and cut them into 1/2 cm. thick circles. In a pan, heat oil and splutter the shah-jeera. Add hing and let it release the aroma. Add the grated ginger and saute' for a minute or so. Add the plantain slices and stir fry till they change color into slightly pale/brown. This would help avoid the raw and slimy feel. Add the chopped spinach, salt and chilli powder. Stir and cover to cook on low heat till the plantain slices are tender. Add lime juice, 1-2 broken green chillies and a pinch of garam masala. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot with chapatis or rice. Enjoy :).

Sending this with lots of love to dear Mandira. My apologies to you, sweetie, for the delay. Hope you'll enjoy it :).


KayKat said...

I've never cooked plantains with spinach before, this looks really interesting!

Raaga said...

I have 4 plantains that I bought and didn't get a chance to do anything with... have sarson too... think I can pair the two?? Am pretty certain we'd love this.

Rajitha said...

palak and plantain..interesting!! looks really good..on another note..a banana tree is one where ever part is usefull...from the fruit-to leaves- to the trunk! awesome tree

sra said...

What an unusual combination, it certainly looks delicious! And you lived in a haveli? Oh my!

Happy cook said...

It is a new combination for me.
Any wayit is aintresting combo

Asha said...

Great combo Musie! Never thought of these together.We make Alu-Palak, why not Plantains and Palak, right? Clever girl!!:))
Looks delicious.
I don't know whether you call this Haveli but my grandfather has 12 kids and his home has more 14 rooms with kitchen and baths are separate from the main house in the coffee estate!;p
We call it Railway platform! Hahaha!!

Mishmash ! said...

You re quite a creative one...I have never tasted this combo but still looks and sounds intriguing. thanks dear :)


Richa said...

tussi chaat'ch jeera te' imli nai pandey? slurrrp :)
thuaddi subzi changi laggi, nice combo! and it sure is the kalpvriksha!

musical said...


Welcome to my corner :). It tastes pretty good, do try it.


Kale works in the one, so mustard green should ideally work as well. Btw, i sometimes make this with mustard oil seasoning.


Thats so true. Each part of banana tree is useful. Don't we all know the eco friendly plates we use off this plant :).

musical said...


It tastes delicious too. Oh, haveli, it was in a village and not the kind of haveli you see in movies ;). Many rooms and huge garden, thats it.

Happy Cook:

Yes it is, do try it :).


You got it right :-D. Our haveli was a big house but not the kind of jazzy stuff one sees in movies. In villages havelis refer to a large house, it may even be earther house not a concerete one!

musical said...


Thanks, dear :). If you like cooked plantain, you'll like it too.


Haanji, imli vi paande haan-par imli gholan vich time laggda e na :). I am lazy, so lately i make do with nimbu da ras ;). Hun tussi aakhya e, taan main imli paake chaat banavangi. Mummy hamesha imli paande sige. And yes, it is a kalpvriksha indeed!

Madhu said...

That's a different combo, looks delicious.

Sandeepa(Bong Mom's CookBook/DesiMomzClub) said...

Again a innovative pairing. Change your stream Musy or at least your thesis, is there time ;-)

bee said...

in kerala too, when everything is washed out by the rains, people turn to the banana plant, and to the drumstick tree. i remember eating drumstick leaves for four days in a row when there was flooding. no regrets, 'cos i love drumstick leaves.

Mandira said...

this looks so delicious, love the combination! And my dear, you're not late, rather just in time ;)

musical said...


Thanks :). Glas you liked it :).


Tum bhi na bas ;).

musical said...


Thats how it worked out for us as well, we all enjoyed the cooked banana a lot! Drumstick leaves , never had those, but i love drumsticks per se a lot!


Thank you so much, my gracious host :).

Sharmi said...

this is very new kind of subzi. looks very rich and delicious. lovely entry.

Kajal said...

Banana with Palak this is new creation and nice healthy toooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rcoking entry.:)

musical said...


Thanks ji :). It does look rich, but is not heavy at all, courtesy the shah-jeera and hing.


Thank you, dear :). It is healthy and quite delicious too, am glad you liked it :).

Redchillies said...

What a great idea, in fact using raw banana is better than paneer than any day. What is Shah-jeera? Is it different from the regular one?

Roopa said...

oh my another wonderfull combo :) hey combo girl thats just unique:)

Lakshmi said...

wow never thought of this combo! Wonderfull, the dish looks gr8.

Sig said...

Nice story Musie... I thought coconut tree was called Kalpvriksha... thanks for correcting my ignorance.. (or may be in Kerala that is... :D) ... Anyway great combo... a very creative dish indeed...


Unique dish using plantain and palak,just love it..:)

musical said...


Thanks :). Shahjeera is a longer and dark kind of cumin, slightly bitter in taste. Hey, i love my paneer too ;).


Thanks for the lovely "combo girl" title ;).

musical said...


Thank you, dear :). Am glad that you liked it :).


We are both right. Both these trees are very useful and fit the mythic bill for "the tree that nurtures and changes lives".....though yes, Kalpavriksha/Kalpataru, if just used as a noun, would specify coconut, in prsent day context. But used as an adjective, it refers to a tree ever so useful and nurturing :).

Raks Kitchen:

Welcome to my corner and thanks, for the warm words :).

TBC said...

Oooh! this is a new combo for me.:-)

musical said...


Feel free to try it :-D. It worked really well!

sunita said...

I love bananas in any form...haven't had plantains in're tempting me now.

swapna susarla said...

never tried this one!!looks divine!!

musical said...


Hey, its really nice to hear that this simple recipe is really tempting you to enjoy sure you'll like it.


Thanks, dear :). You really flatter me (blush).

Anita said...

Wow, you are a creative one, Musical! I would have never thought of this fusion dish - palak with plantain - Punjab meets Kerala!

musical said...


That's really sweet of you :). I love the Punjab meets Kerala reference :).

Saju said...

lovely lovely lovely. Those plantains and spinach look so delicious, esp. with the red chilli parked on top! I am trying this as soon as I can!

musical said...

Hey Saju:

Thanks, dear :). and i love the fact that you too like the chillies :).

Rachna said...

wow musy..what a combo..palaka nd kacha kela... you get the award for the most unique combo sabzis... my mum makes these amazing plantain koftas....

musical said...


Thanks ji :). I would love to try the plantain koftas, sounds like a neat idea!

Linda said...

I don't know how I missed this one Musical! Good thing the JFI Banana round up sent me running right over to get the recipe. Pass me the spoon please......... :)

musical said...

Hey Linda:

Thanks, dear :). Sure, help yourself to some :). Your entry was very new and lovely too!

Dhivya Karthik said...

A very interesting combo! who knew! time for the "from ur kitchen to mine " :)

musical said...


Thanks a lot, dear :). That was really kind of you :).

Hima said...

This looks something new to me. Never tried this combination before. Need to give it a try.

musical said...

Hey Hima:

Sure, do try it and lemme know how you like it.

farah said...

Hi to u!
ur recipe looks so yummy n delicious...u've compelled me to try this dish but i havnt cooked raw bananaz ever in my life n never ever tasted it (poooooor guy) but i wanna 2 try it now....but a bit scared..u know..can u give me some extra tips 4 the following-
when i will be able to know the banana rawness has gone n till wt time i have to cook so that it didnt get mushy rather stay whole like urs?
Do water is required in the dish..i mean if the gravy becomes dry???
Any thing else 2 keep in mind before i make anydish with raw bananas.???????
Thax so much in advance. hopefully u will give the ans :) since i m fresher in making plantain dish of any sort......