Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Recipes: Curried banana flower & spinach peas curry

Wondering what to cook for dinner today, I peeked into my refrigerator. All I found were a few tomatoes staring sadly back at me.

It's obvious I need to visit Fresh Foods, our local fruit and vegetable store in Carbondale. But I didn't have the energy to do that today.

So I looked in the freezer, hoping there was something else and found a bag each of frozen spinach and peas. 

In my pantry I found a can of
banana flowers. Hmmm...never cooked those before. I think I mistook it to be jack fruit and picked it up at the International Store in town. 

I also found some onions, garlic and ginger - essential staples in every Indian home. I put everything on my kitchen island, took out my spice box, pondered over it a bit and here's what I came up with:

Curried Banana Flower

  • 1 can banana flower
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • one inch ginger chopped
  • four cloves garlic chopped
  • two medium-sized tomatoes - chopped
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder (add more or less according to your taste)
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin seed powder
  • chopped coriander for garnish


Drain the can of banana flower and rinse well in colander. 

Chop the banana flower and add salt and turmeric to it. Mix well and set aside for about 10 minutes.

In a pressure cooker (or regular pan), heat up the oil and add cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves and sauté for a few minutes.

Add the onions, ginger and garlic and saute till onions appear slightly transparent.

Add the tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander and cumin seed powder and  sauté for 7-8 minutes 

Add the marinated banana flower and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles over a medium flame. If using a regular pan, close the lid and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.

Spinach-Peas Curry

The second dish I made was super easy and very delicious to boot. Thanks go to Tarla Dalal, my favorite Indian vegetarian cookbook author, for the recipe.

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch stick cinamon
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida
  • 1 10 oz. bag of frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dry ginger powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt to taste

Heat oil, add the cloves, cinnamon and asafoetida.

Add the spinach and peas along with water and bring to a rapid boil.

Simmer for 10-12 minutes until most of the water evaporates.

Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger powder, milk and salt and mix well.

Bring to a boil and serve immediately with rice or rotis.

Jeera Rice

I had some leftover rice in the fridge, which I sautéed in a tsp. of butter with whole cumin seeds and a pinch of turmeric powder, to make an easy Jeera rice (cumin rice).

I heated up some store bought rotis and dinner was served. 

It was gobbled up in minutes. Minutes I tell you!

Now excuse me, I need to burp digest all that awesome food.


  1. Uhhhh, I am wondering why I did not get a call inviting me to dinner?? You read my blog that I I have been stumped over what to cook for dinner, lately! :)

  2. Ha ha ha, I will call you soon for sure! :)

  3. It is great that you use whatever you have in the fridge instead of visiting Trader Joe's twice a day like I do. I am very picky about following recipes but that means a lot of wasted produce :( Great use of canned banana flowers.


    1. Thvanks GSA! So envious that you get to go twice a day to Trader Joe's! Its such a lovely store!

  4. I am definitely going to try the spinach and peas dish, and the jeera rice as well! Could you please post some more vegetarian recipes? I miss our delicious Indian vegetarian food :)


    1. Sure thing, Yolanda. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  5. wow! I am impressed!can't wait to taste all this and more when I come there!

  6. Wow! vazhaipoo?! cool is the canned as good as the fresh? i remember my mom and grandmom making vazhapoo kootu and poriyal! miss it so much, the authentic home food! but the spinach and peas is an interesting combination, never had it before, so am going to try your recipe! but i should say ur final pic looks totally inviting! am hungry now! :)

    1. Thanks Aish! Yep, banana flower is vazhaipoo! It tasted pretty good...i'm sure fresh is better always, but the canned wasn't bad at all. I'm thinking of making vazhaipoo vadai for Vishu, this Saturday.

  7. Hmm! Interesting recipe with must try it,,,, It's called "mocha" in Bengali & I ate it while in Calcutta for the first time ever....