Banana Flower (Vazhai Poo)

Banana Flower (Vazhai Poo in Tamil), which may also be called banana blossom, is used as a food item in India, especially in South India. It has lot of medicinal values. It is considered as a blood purifying item and it is effective in curing menstrual disorders like painful menstruation and excessive bleeding. It also increases hemoglobin cell levels in the blood.
Due to time consuming job involved in cooking this flower, most people do not cook it often. But, it is not so laborious job to cook this flower, if you have some practice.
Banana flower consists of many layers of bract. You will find a bunch of florets under each layer. First remove the hard pink layer. Take out the florets found underneath. Remove all the layers one by one and collect all the florets.

In each floret, you will find a string in the middle with a tiny head and also a small plastic like white cover around it. Both are not edible. Remove both from all the florets.

The florets in the upper portion are slightly bigger than the florets in the inner portion. From the big floret, you can easily see these and remove it.

But it is little difficult to find the string in the small florets. You have to open each small floret gently by your fingers and remove the string and cover. To do this, take a bunch of florets in one hand and hold the bottom and gently rub the top of the florets in your palm. Now the florets will open up and you will see the strings in each floret. Remove it. When you remove the hard layers, you will find the colour of the bract will change from dark pink to a pale yellow and finally end up with a small white bulb The florets in the inner portion will be more tender. You can use the tender florets and the small white bulb as it is. No need to remove string or anything from these.
Then chop all the florets into tiny bits and put in water mixed with little butter milk till you cook the same. This will avoid discoloration of the florets.
If you find time and a banana flower in nearby market, just buy it.

  • Vazhai Poo Vadai

    Difficulty: Medium

    This snack is made with banana flower (vazhai poo) and is served with tea or coffee.

  • Vazhai Poo (Banana Flower) Poriyal

    Difficulty: Medium

    This side dish is made with banana flower (vazhai poo) and is served with rice.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Kamala.
    Wish it was just a few days previous. I am back in US now so now chance of making this. However, I have tried my hand at making they poriyal back in 2001 at my friend’s house in Kanchi- you’re right it is very time consuming. But it is SOOOO tasty! (As is drumstick leaves curry!)

  2. The_Girl_From_Ipanema

    I remember finding the banana flower once in an indian market in the US and excitedly buying it, remembering what a delicacy it was. Of course I had no idea then how much effort went behind the scenes. Then my mom had to explain to me in painstaking and patient detail over the phone how to find the floret, string and bulb. Wish this post existed then! 🙂

    Anyways, I ended up making ariti-puvvu koora as my mom made it, took me forever but it was worth it. But I don’t think I will venture again unless I have plenty of time on my hands. 🙂 Great post and pics!

  3. Hi Jennifer,I also cook drumstick leaves poriyal in the same way as your recipe. Your version with potatos seems to be nice. I have also posted my version of poriyal here:

  4. Thank you for your note.

  5. Ponnammal Balasubramanian

    Nice posting this. Banana Flower (Vazhaipoo) Vadai & Porial are nice to make and rather more tasty. Banana flower Thuvaiyal will also be tasty and can be added to rice besides side dish to Dosa, idli etc.

  6. I need one information from you with regard to this banana flower. I clean this banana flower in afternoon(removing tiny head and white cover) and put it in a cover tightly wrapped and i keep that in fridge. next day morning i cook it. sometimes my banana flower preparation comes out very well and on sometimes its very bitter. i dont know where its going wrong. i think so it should not be stored in fridge and i think so it should be cooked immediately once we clean it. need suggestion from you ….

    • Hi Suchithra,

      Yes. You are right. It should be cooked immediately. Moreover, some variety have bitter taste and the taste of the flower depends on the type of the Banana tree from which it comes. Usually in villages, we get flower from our own garden and we know the taste of the flower. But when we buy from the market, we have to take the chance only.

  7. Thank you for the reply which makes me easily understandable.thanks once again.

  8. Many thanks dear your note for cooking banana flower is very useful

  9. I mean I was not sure about the cleaning of it and hence the curry always turned to be bitter. Your pictoral notes have been very clear and apt I shall try and then write to you bye

  10. Hi Kamala

    I tried your recipe this evening for dinner and the banana flowers were from my back yard and what a disaster it was. It was utterly bitter. I did remove the plastic like thing and the long stringy tail with the head on and soaked it in lemon water. So where did i go wrong???? 🙁

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