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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mocha aloo tarkari (banana flower with potatoes)

It's actually banana inflorescence, but who cares, right? That which we call a rose etc.This is one of my favorite Bengali dishes. The preparation takes a while, and can be done before to reduce cooking time- except that it may turn dark. Soaking them in a bowl of lemon juice might help to prevent that.

  1. Discard the outer purple layers and work with the stalk-like flowers. You have to discard the anthers or else your dish will turn bitter. Two generations ago, when you had ample help around kitchen in big families, women used to pluck them one by one. now you just need to hold the knife at an angle and behead them all at once,and the anthers will come out with the heads. Chop.
  2. Microwave in a bowl with water. Drain out the water, and any extra bitterness.
  3. Dice potatoes into small pieces, fry with cumin seeds in oil. Add the steamed flowers. Add turmeric and salt to taste. Cook covered.
  4. You can add garam masala and ghee for the traditional taste. Some prefer a sprinkle of sugar.
You can make a variation by adding shallow-fried shrimps. You can also make mochar chop (croquettes) using the mix.

Version 2:
Add shallow-fried shrimps

Tips for beginners:
Discard the anthers and small transparent coats at the base of the each blossom  if you are picking them.
Or remove the anthers using a knife by pulling them away at an angle.

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