100 Vegetables (and Fruits): #85. Plantain

Plantains are delicious, a variety of banana that is eaten while green. India uses them a lot, far more than Western cuisines which tend to ignore them completely. Enjoy these spicy dishes and snacks.

You can browse all of our Plantain recipes. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Vazhakkai Podimas | Plantain Mash

Podimas is the Tamil (South Indian) equivalent to a mash – potato podimas is quite divine. Here we are using plantains – the variety of banana that is primarily used green or raw. The plantain is simmered until tender, mashed or crumbled, then mixed with spices. It is a great side dish.

Similar recipes include Sweet Potato Mash with Lime Salsa, Plantain Kari, Plantain Mor Kootu, Vazakkai Poriyal, and Thani Kootu.

Browse all of our Plantain dishes and our Podimas recipes. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Vazhaikkai Kari | Plantain Tamarind Side Dish

We have another kari for you today. A kari is (generally) a vegetable side dish in Tamil Nadu and it is an important part of a balanced meal. This one is plantain cooked with tamarind and some simple spices. It is easy to make and very delicious.

A kari is (generally) a vegetable side dish in Tamil Nadu and it is an important part of a balanced meal. Most people believe that the word curry comes from kari although the first term is generic for spicy dishes and the latter is a dish that can be served mild or made exotic with a variety of spices (and deep frying). There are lots of versions of the etymology of kari, but there is some agreement that its modern day usage means stir fried. Still, you will find lots of different interpretations of it. Stir-fry vegetable dishes can also be called Poriyaland some Sundals are also classified as a kari. Kari can be made with a large variety of vegetables – carrots, beans, snakegourd, broad beans, cluster beans, corn, broccoli, chow chow, plantain etc.

Similar recipes include Plantain Mash, Okra Tamarind Pachadi, Plantain Moar Kootu, Plantain Poriyal, and Thani Kootu.

Browse all of our Kari dishes and our Plantain recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Plantain Chips

One of my enduring memories of Kerala is the proliferation of freshly cooked plantain chips – delicious deep fried slices of raw banana, crispy and salty. Even when I was staying in Mylapore in Chennai, the wallah was making huge woks-full of fresh plantain chips right there on the street, so you’d get them straight from the pan.

They can be made at home of course – quite easily in fact. Just like the street wallahs, you can slice the plantain right into the hot oil if it is safe to do so. Otherwise slice them onto a plate and add to the oil. As they cook the flavourings are added to the layer of chips, or they can be salted as they come out of the pan. Madhur Jaffrey also adds curry leaves and green chilli to the oil before removing the chips – the oil does erupt a bit when you do this so I often leave it out. You can add chilli powder to the chips as they come out of the oil if you wish.

Similar recipes include Plantain Mash, Plantain Kari, Paprika Oven Chips, Polenta Crisps and Potato Wedges.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks and all of our Plantain recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Cluster Beans Jaggery Kootu

Another in our Kootu series is made with cluster beans, and jaggery is added which counterbalances the slight bitterness of the beans and compliments the tamarind very well. It is slightly sweet-sour.

Most Kootus are made from vegetables, coconut and a mix of spices. Sometimes lentils or a dal is added to thicken the kootu. Generally kootus are made with vegetables that are locally available.

The recipe is another of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. She says that this same Kootu can be made with green beans, sabre beans, eggplant, plantain, plantain flower and chow chow.

Similar dishes include Plantain Mash, Chow Chow Kari, Pumpkin Milk Kootu, Cluster Bean Kootu, Brinjal Kootu and Mango Kootu.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Cluster Bean dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Kootu with Coconut

Kootu (or Koottu) is a simple, yet delicious dish that’s made in most Tamil homes in Tamil Nadu in South India.  While it can be made at any time, it is especially important during some festivals, such as Pongal.

This kootu is different from the traditional Aviyal as the mix of ingredients is different. Each Tamil home has their own style of making this kootu and the vegetables chosen also differ from home to home. Kootu usually includes lentils and is similar to sambar and kuzhambu, but there is a variation that is similar to Aviyal in that lentils are not used but a variety of vegetables are included. Most kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and red or green chillies in a paste – sometimes spices are kept to a minimum and just a coconut paste is used.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes. You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Melon and Tamarind Kuzhambu, and Aviyal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Aviyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Plantain Moar Koottu | Plantain in Yoghurt Sauce

This dish is a yoghurt sauce served with cooked plantain. It is similar to an aviyal, but made with one vegetable only. Other vegetables that can be used instead of the plantain are amaranth stems, chow chow, ash gourd, and plantain stem.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Moar Kuzhambu, Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

Browse all of our Koottu dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Thani Kootu

Thani Kootu is a popular Thanjavur recipe traditionally prepared for Sumangali Prarthanai, Sankaranthi and other festivals. In this dish, 5 different vegetables are prepared in separate jaggery kootus – a delicious and tangy South Indian base for the vegetables which is made with tamarind, freshly ground spices and jaggery. Jaggery brings out the tanginess of the tamarind in a surprising way.

Thani means stand alone in Tamil, and this indicates how the vegetables are made into separate dishes rather than mixed together. The different Thani Kootu dishes are generally serve with plain steamed rice. The base can also be served on its own without any vegetable added. It is pretty delicious!

To make it easy to prepare these dishes we make a large pot of the base Kootu, then divide it into five. The vegetables are cooked separately, and then added to the bases. It is common today to combine the vegetables in one dish, but traditionally, five different ones were made.

By the way, Sumangali Prarthanai is a thanksgiving religious function to honour our female ancestors.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Pumpkin Milk KootuCluster Bean Jaggery Kootu, Plantain Moar Kootu, Okra Tamarind Kootu, Green Bean Kootu, and Brinjal Kootu.

Browse all of our Kootu dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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South Indian Plantain Dish | Vazhakkai Poriyal

There are advantages and disadvantages to living in downtown outer-suburban capital city. It is countrified living, but the access to specialist products such as good cheeses, excellent olive oils etc is limited. I found out the other day that I can’t buy Bitter Lemon around here – there goes my Gin and Bitter Lemon. Is that out of fashion now?

What I am eternally grateful for, you don’t know how much, is the range of fruit and vegetables that are common in my area but not seen in the inner-suburban groceries and supermarkets where I used to live. Plantains. Mangoes all year. Pomelo. Mustard Greens. Chilli Leaves. Betel Leaves. Pea Eggplants. Apple Eggplants. Okra. Green Mangoes.  FRESH PINEAPPLES FOR $1!! I could go on and on. This availability has radicalised our kitchen’s menu. Every trip I want to bow down to the owners of the Vietnamese grocery in particular. Total gratitude.

So today the dish is a quick curry of plantain, stir fried and then simmered in spices to make a Poriyal from Tamil Nadu in South India. It is very very delicious with some rice (mix with a little ghee and a pinch or two of poppy seeds), some sambar (plantain can be a bit dry in texture, so it is good to have it with a wet dish) and some chutney. Finish with some curd/yoghurt if you wish.

Similar dishes include Plantain Kari, Plantain Chips, Plantain Moar Kootu, Plantain in Tamarind Gravy (make this dish with plantain instead of eggplant in the recipe), Plantain Pulissery (make this dish with plantain instead of pineapple in the recipe), Carrot Poriyal, and Carrot and Bean Poriyal.

Browse all of our Plantain recipes, and all of our Poriyal dishes. You can browse all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer of recipes.

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Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind | Sutta Kathirikkai Gothsu | Roasted Eggplants in a Spicy Tamarind Gravy

This Kothsu (also spelled Gothsu or Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian curry that is made by roasting and mashing eggplant and popping it into a spicy tamarind gravy. It is the second Kosthu of this kind that we have posted. The first one, Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, uses a different spice mix with the eggplant. These Kothsu recipes are different to many others as they are made with roasted eggplants which gives them a smoky flavour.

Some people get these two Brinjal Kothsu dishes confused with Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu, but they are different. Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu is made with toor dal and without tamarind. Today’s Brinjal Kothsu is made without any dal, and includes tamarind. There is only a little gravy which is thickened with some rice flour, so it just coats the eggplant. You can see that the two dishes are quite different.

This recipe can also be made with plantain (green banana) or onions instead of eggplant. See the notes below the recipe for more details.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Plantain Poriyal, Curry Leaf Tamarind Kuzhambu, Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, Cabbage Kosthu, and Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu.

Or would you like other Eggplant dishes? Try Pitlai, Aubergines in Coconut  Milk, and Baingan ka Bharta.

Or browse all of the Kothsu dishes, and all of the Eggplant dishes. Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes are available here, and all of our Indian recipes are here. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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