Vazhaikkai (unripe bananas/plantains) are available round the year if you are lucky enough to live in South India :). The bananas are used in a variety of dishes as part of a dish like aviyal or kootanchoru, or as the primary ingredient in preparations like these cutlets. I have adapted this recipe from my grandmother’s vazhaikkai vadais. I prefer this as it is shallow fried with very little oil.
Unripe banana does not contribute significant amounts of any nutrient. Even the energy value is as low as 65 Calories per 100g, and the fibre is negligible. However the roasted Bengal gram powder added supplies 22g of protein per 100g. It makes a very good low-fat snack.
- 3 Unripe Bananas (Vazhaikkai)
- 2 Onions, diced
- 4 Green Chillies, deseeded and diced
- ½ C chopped Coriander Leaves
- ¼ C chopped Curry Leaves
- 1 T grated Ginger
- ½ C Roasted Bengal Gram powder
- 1 ½ tsp Sombu (Aniseed) Powder
- 2 tsp Salt, or to taste
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- 2 C Water
- Top and tail the bananas. Cut into 3 pieces.
- Boil water with salt. Add the bananas; simmer till the bananas are cooked. Drain and cool.
- Remove the skin of the bananas. Mash the bananas till a smooth mass is obtained.
- Add all the ingredients except the oil.
- Knead well. It should be like stiff dough. Adjust salt.
- Make into lime-sized balls.
- Flatten the balls in the palm of your hand to form the cutlets.
- Heat a non-stick skillet. Add a few drops of oil.
- Place 5-6 cutlets at a time. After 2 minutes or so, place a few drops of oil on each cutlet.
- Turn the cutlets over and cook till both sides are browned.
- Serve with ketchup or wedges of lime and rings of onion.
- Roasted Bengal gram dhal is powdered in a mixie/blender for 10 seconds at speeds 1 and 2.
- After the vazhaikkai is cooked in Step 2, make sure it is thoroughly drained of moisture before you remove the skin. Otherwise the texture of the mash will be sticky.
- If you don’t like the taste of curry leaves, substitute mint leaves instead. You can also add 2 teaspoons of ginger garlic-paste instead of the grated ginger to complement the mint.