Vazhakoombu – Cherupayar Thoran (Banana flower and lentils)
Vazhakoombu – Cherupayar Thoran
Vazhakoombu – Cherupayar thoran (Banana Flower with Lentils) is a super delicious, highly nutritious thoran. In Kerala, most of the houses will have Banana trees in their backyard. Bananas, ripened or raw, the flower (also known as Vazha Chundu or Vazha poovu or Kodappan), the stem, everything is used for cooking. That is why this dish brings nostalgic memories to many Keralites outside Kerala. I still remember Beenchi (my sister), sucking honey from the flower threads. That time, I used to think it was “yuck” and refused to try for once in my childhood. Now, I am trying to convince my kids about that sweet taste and they wouldn’t budge. 🙂
Not all the Banana flowers are suitable for cooking as some of them are bitter. Mummy (my mil) says that Ethavazha koombu (Kerala Banana) is best. Vazhakoombu Cherupayar Thoran is highly nutritious and power packed with all vitamins, fibres and proteins. Cherupayar (lentils) are also great for your diet; together, Vazhakoombu and cherupayar is super delicious and a nice healthy combination. (See health Benefits below). Chundu thoran is quite popular in Kerala as it is easily available. You may also like Cabbage and Cherupayar Thoran, Sprouts thoran, Vanpayar Thoran, Beans thoran, Vanpayar Ularthiyathu, Churakka erissery, Koorkka Mezhukkupuratti, Mushroom Thoran, and my mix thorans like Padavalanga Carrot Thoran, Cheera Parippu Thoran, Cabbage Irachi Thoran, Beans and carrot Thoran etc.
We have a lot of Banana trees all around our home in Champakulam, and every time I go there I will be searching for “Pesticide free Banana flowers”. The news about large volume of pesticides has not reduced my love for Banana flowers. If I cannot have home grown ones, I buy from Vegetable shop and put them in salt water for sometime, changing water in between. Hope you will try this healthy Traditional Kerala dish, Vazhakoombu Cherupayar Thoran! Enjoy!
|Vazha koombu/ Chundu/ flower||: 1 no|
|Moong Dal/ Cherupayar cooked||: 1 cup|
|Onion||: 1 no|
|Green chilly||: 1-2 nos.|
|Coconut scraped||: ¾ cup|
|Turmeric Powder||: ½ tsp|
Cook Cherupayar/ Moong Dal in a pressure cooker without salt. Wash, clean the Vazhakoombu (Banana flower), remove and discard the outer hard covers (red) and the mature florets till you see a paler cover with much tender florets. Chop this Banana part into very fine pieces. Once the chopping is over, add a teaspoon of coconut oil to it and mix well. Take a wooden spoon and with its stem slowly rotate (in one direction) the chopped koombu and you will see that the stem will have strings attached to it. Discard these.
Chop half of the onion. Heat oil in a pan/ kadai, pop mustards and add curry leaves and then chopped onion. Sauté for some time and add the chopped Banana flower. Add salt and sauté for one minute. Top with cooked cherupayar, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, grind coarsely coconut, half onion, green chilly, curry leaves and turmeric powder. (Some people add Jeerah Powder, you can try if you like). Add this to the pan and cover and cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust salt and stir well to combine.
The tasty healthy thoran is ready. Enjoy with rice.
- Banana flower should be chopped very finely.
- The mature florets have parts that are not edible. Discard them with outer hard layers.
- If you are fond of adding Jeerah, you may try that vesion as well.
- You can try adding red chilly as well while popping mustards for extra garnishing.
- Cherupayar (Moong Dal) should be soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours before cooking. Don’t add salt while cooking.
- You can also try with Red cow peas( Van Payar).
- Coconut should be ground coarsely.
- Vazhakoombu is filled with anti-oxidants and guards you from infections.
- It is a storehouse of vitamins like A, C and E and has potassium and fiber.
- It controls blood sugar and keeps anemia at bay and reduces menstrual bleeding as well.
- It is also a natural anti-depressant and elevates mood.
- Moong dal, is loaded with proteins and vitamins and is low carb.
- It is also good for your skin and hair.
Include this Vazhakoombu Cherupayar thoran in your weekly menu for a healthy energetic life style. If you like this recipe, let me know in comments. Share it with your friends, through the buttons on the side. “Sharing is Caring!! God Bless!!