Friday, 20 January 2012

196) BONDIYÉ UPKARI


BONDIYÉ UPKARI
A BANANA FLOWER POD SIDE DISH



Introduction:


          Blossoms of certain varieties of banana make delicious dishes, one of which is the Konkani dish of bondiyé upkari. Flower pods of Nendran, red banana, Karpooravalli and certain types of Adakkapoovan or Kadali are sweet and good to eat whereas certain other varieties such as Robusta and related types as well as curry banana like Mondan together with Mannan and some types of Kadali are often horribly bitter and inedible. Hence it is best to bite on a tiny bit of the flower cone before you cook it.

          Banana flower pods are rich in iron, minerals and vitamins. They contain perhaps the greatest amount of dietary fibre present in any vegetable and are wonderful in cleaning out the intestines. They are a blessing to people suffering from constipation and piles. Doctors often advise anaemic persons to eat banana blossoms every day. Bondiyé upkari is prepared only in cast iron woks with mild (soft) iron flat ladles. This makes the upkari immensely delicious and iron rich.

Ingredients:

     1)    Banana flower pods – 500 gm.

     2)    Freshly grated coconut – 1 cup
     3)    Dry hot red chilies – 5 Nos.
     4)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
     5)    Coconut oil – 2 tablespoons
     6)    Powdered salt – ¾ teaspoon

To Cook:

          Wash the banana flower pod and chop it carefully to superfine bits. Use gloves as the juice of the blossom can stain your skin black for a day. Break each dry chili into 2 or 3 pieces.

          Set a thick cast iron wok on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish crackling, tip in the broken chilies. Stir once using a soft iron ladle. Now put in the chopped flower pod and sprinkle the salt. Stir well till the flower cone pieces heat up nicely.

          Now turn down the heat and cover tightly with a lid. Open the lid frequently and stir. The pieces will blacken and will start sticking to the bottom when they are cooked by the steam from their own juice. Taste to confirm that the upkari is cooked. Tip in the grated coconut. Stir nicely and switch off the heat. Serve hot with rice, gruel, porridge or with cherupayar kanji.

Enjoy!!!


Notes:

     1)    Konkanis generally pour water in the wok to immerse the pieces in order to cook the upkari on high heat. However, I prefer not to use any water at all but to let the upkari cook in its own juice on low heat which makes it exceptionally sweet and tasty.

     2)    One of the secrets of great taste is in the method of chopping. The sharper the knife, the finer the bits, the greater the taste.

     3)    Freshly plucked and grated coconut with softer flesh gives you the best taste.

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