Bring out the many charms of the Banana Floral Essence in your Culinary

These pretty flowers appearing at the tip of a banana bunch can be a tough competitor to the other parts of the plant while considering its health benefits. This large pretty flower houses the thin tubular structured male flowers carefully lined in consecutive layers, covered by closely packed crimson colored bracts or petals. Come on health lovers, let us embark on a food journey as to how to cook the edible parts of the flower in to delicious dishes and go on to acquire the knowledge of the benefits that this nutritive powerhouse has to offer.
Known as Vazhaipoo in Tamil, Vaazhakkoombu in Malayalam, Kela Phool in Hindi, Arati Poovu in Telugu and Bale Huvina in Kannada, this plantain flower carries Musa acuminata as its scientific name. Common to Southeast Asia, this flower which offers incredible benefits mostly requires tropical humid lowlands to grow.
How to get the edible flower parts ready for your cooking:
Firstly, our hands should be greased with oil to prevent the sticky pigment of the flower staining our fingers and palm. After doing so, the deep colored purple bracts are to be removed one by one until the pale colored tubular parts of the flower are seen. The inedible bracts are to be discarded while the yellow male flowers are preserved. Till the inner pale yellow bract, which is relatively soft, is reached the above said process has to be repeated. Then the pale yellow flowers are to be gently brushed on the top to remove the slender black colored stamen from them. These stamen are not edible and hence have to be discarded. An important point to be noted is that these male flowers are to be immediately put in very dilute buttermilk to prevent decoloration. Though, this process of sorting out the edible parts of the flower is lengthy and messy, the outcome of the dishes made from these flowers is truly yummy.
Now here are some recipes with the Banana flowers:
Banana flower fritters:
·       After the initial process of removing the pale colored parts from the banana flower, they have to be pressure cooked up to two whistles with the required amount of salt and turmeric powder.
·       Chop two medium sized onions and mix it with the flowers cut into small pieces.
·        1 cup chick pea flour, 1 tbsp chilli powder, 1 tbsp garam masala, 1 tbsp cumin powder, 1tbsp ginger garlic paste are to be taken and mixed with the ingredients mentioned above in step 2 along with some corriander leaves.
·       Small flattened balls are to be made by adding very little quantity of water.
·       These balls can either be shallow or deep fried as per your convenience.
Yummy banana flower fritters are ready and can be had as a snack with hot tea.
Banana flower Indian pancakes(Vazhapoo Adai):
·       Soak the following for 2-3 hours:

      3/4  cup channa dhal
       ½ cup thuar dhal
       ½ cup raw rice
       ¼ cup moong dhal
       2 tsp urad dhal
·       Grind the above-said ingredients into a coarse paste with a little amount of water, hing, 4-5 red chilies and  salt(as needed). The batter should be of thick curd consistency.
·       Finely chop the banana flower florets and corriander leaves. Mix them with the batter.
·       If needed, finely chopped onion can also be mixed with the batter.
·       Heat the tawa and spread the batter with a small hole in the middle. Drizzle 1 tsp of oil surrounding the batter and to the hole in the middle.
·       After 2-3 minutes, flip the adai, for the other side to get cooked.
·       Remove the hot steaming adai from the tawa and repeat the process for the remaining batter.
Vazhapoo paruppusli
·       Soak 1 small cup of thuar dhal and 1 small cup of channa dhal for ½ an hour.
·       In the meantime cut the florets into small pieces and pressure cook it for up to two whistles.
·       Grind the soaked ingredients along with 3-4 red chilies, salt and hing in to a coarse paste.
·       Now, heat the oil in a kadai, and allow 1 tsp of mustard seeds to splutter. Add 1 tsp of urud dhal. When the dhal starts to turn red add the ground paste. Fry the paste till it gets cooked well and the moisture in it evaporates.
·       Now add the cooked chopped florets to the fried ingredients. Care should be taken that there is no water content in them. Saute the  contents in the kadai and immediately put off the fire.
Now let us have a bird’s eye view of its health benefits:      
·       The immediate decoloration of the florets, when exposed to air, is because of its very high Iron content and thus can replenish the hemoglobin levels in our body with ease.
·       Intake of this flower can put an end to the bacterial infections.
·       It is a great food for diabetic patients as it has antihyperglycemic properties.
·       It is also a powerhouse of vitamin C, which can prevent ulcers .
·       Your stomach will simply love this flower as it relieves the system from constipation, prevents bloating and can improve digestion as the fiber content in this amazing blossom is high.
These are just only a hand few of the health benefits listed but this incredible flower’s immense potential to treat the human body from various ailments is immeasurable.
If you haven’t tried out the dishes made out of the banana flower then what is stopping you now? Bring out the many charms of the banana floral essence in your culinary! Bon Appetit!