Juice from banana stem is a well-known remedy for urinary disorders. It improves the functional efficiency of kidney and liver thereby alleviating the discomforts and diseased condition in them. It clears the excretion organs in the abdominal region of toxins and helps to eliminate them in the form of urine. It has been found to be of great help in the treatment for the removal of stones in the kidney, gall bladder, and prostate. It is advisable to mix this juice whenever possible with the juice of ash pumpkin.
According to Mrs. Raman these two dishes made of the banana pith originally comes from Kerala but has now migrated to Tamil Nadu. I learnt it from a Tamilian lady.
Processing the Banana Bark:
The green layers of the banana bark are peeled off to expose the white pith of the stem.
This white pith is used to make the dried vegetable Wazhai Thandu Kari and the vegetable curry Wazhai Thandu Kootu.
This white stem is now cut up into thin slices.
While cutting it the fibres within the stem are pulled out with the fingers.
The thin slices of the stem are now chopped finely into 1 cm pieces.
To prevent the cut up banana stem from turning black (oxidising) it is dipped in buttermilk for thirty minutes or more before cooking.
If the banana stem is to be stored, it must be cut up and stored dipped in buttermilk in the refrigerator.
To cook the chopped banana stem, add a teaspoon of turmeric (Haldi) and salt to the chopped banana stem.
Do not add water to the chopped banana stem.
To steam it, add about inch deep water in a pressure cooker then keep the vessel with the banana in it.
Make sure the water does not enter the (stainless steal) vessel with the banana.
Pressure cook for four whistles.
Or steam the chopped banana for an hour until it is cooked. Make sure it is not mashed or looking mushy but crispy after cooking. Cook until Al Dente or to the bite.
This cooked banana stem is now used to make the dry or wet preparations as mentioned and the recipes below.
For the Dry Banana Bark Preparation ;
Wazhai Thandu Kari (Banana Stem dry vegetable)-Serves 4
Banana Stem, chopped and processed as given above (Kele ka tanaa) 2 cups
Coconut Oil (use any vegetable oil) (tel) 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds (rai) 1 teaspoon
Urad Dal 1 tablespoon
Green Chilli (hari mirch), chopped 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves (Kadi patta) 5
Asafoetida (Hing) ¼ teaspoon
Fresh Coconut (Nariyal/ Gari), grated 2 tablespoon
In a pan, heat oil and add in mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to splatter add in the urad dal.
Once the urad dal turns golden brown, add in the green chill, curry leaves and asafoetida. Stir.
Add in the chopped and processed banana bark. Stir.
Allow all the water in the banana stem to dry out completely. Stir. Do not let the vegetable burn from the base, keep stirring.
Cook for another four to five minutes on a low flame and then turn off the heat. Stir.
Once the heat is turned off, add in the grated coconut on top and stir in. Do not cook the coconut.
Serve hot with Sambhar and steamed rice.
For the Wet Banana Bark Preparation;
Wazhai Thandu Kootu
Banana Stem Mixture – Serves 4
Banana Bark, chopped and processed (kele ka tana) 2 cups
Toor Dal ½ cup, soaked
Turmeric (Haldi) ¼ teaspoon
Salt (Namak) to taste
Fresh Coconut (Nariyal/ gari), grated 4 tablespoon
Cumin (Jeera) 1 teaspoon
Green Chilli (hari mirch) 2, chopped
Rice Flour (Chaval Ka aata) 1 tablespoon (to bind the mixture)
Coconut oil (tel) 1 teaspoon – Use any vegetable oil if coconut oil is unavailable
Mustard seeds (rai) ½ teaspoon
Urad Dal 1 tablespoon
Red Chilli (Lal Mirch) 1
Curry leaves (kadi patta) 5
Process the banana bark as mentioned above.
Boil the toor dal, with turmeric, salt and ½ cup water and mash it up into a thick dough-like mixture.
Make a paste with coconut, cumin, green chilli and rice flour with a little water. Make a fine paste.
In a pan, add the processed banana stem and the mashed up toor dal with a little water (2 tablespoon) and stir.
Cook them together on low heat for five minutes.
Add in the coconut paste made earlier into the pan and cook on medium hest for three minutes.
Turn off the heat. Serve it in a serving bowl.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a separate pan, add in the mustard seeds, once they clatter add in urad dal and allow it to turn golden brown, now add red chilli and curry leaves. Turn off the heat
Add this mixture on top of the banana stem curry in the serving bowl.
Serve hot with steamed rice.