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 VadaiDifficulty: Medium
This snack is made with banana flower (vazhai poo) and is served with tea or coffee.
Vazhai Poo (Banana Flower) PoriyalDifficulty: Medium
This side dish is made with banana flower (vazhai poo) and is served with rice.