Banana Blossom Patrode

 (Steam cooked & Pan fried Spicy Rice Cakes made using Banana Blossoms)

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Prep Time: 15-20 mins
Cooing Time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 4-6
Recipe Source: MIL


Ingredients:
1 Banana Blossom
1 large Onion, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp Oil, preferably Coconut Oil
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
10-12 Curry Leaves, finely chopped

Grind to thick Batter (Dosa batter consistency):
2 cups Rice, washed and soaked overnight for about 8-10 hrs
½ packed cup Coconut, fresh/frozen/dried
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
½ -¾ tbsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Medium lime sized Tamarind Pulp (Adjust acc to taste)
6-8 Dry Red Chillies (Adjust acc to taste)
1 inch cube Jaggery
Salt to taste
Method:

Drain water from rice and grind it to smooth batter by adding water and all the ingredients listed above. Make sure that you have little thick batter than that of dosa batter consistency. Adjust tamarind, chillies and jaggery according to your preference.
Now comes the little tricky bit of chopping the banana flower. First apply 1 tbsp of coconut oil to your palm and rub well. Applying oil to your palms help in preventing the sticky sap oozing from banana blossom to your hand which leaves nasty black colour for few days. Remove the outer tougher covering and discard, around 2-4 outer tough skins. In my case I had to remove two outer skins. Don’t discard the florets. Now chop this banana flower and florets into very fine pieces.
Usually these chopped pieces are soaked in very sour butter milk to prevent from discolouring. In spite of doing so it discolours to some extent. So you can simply skip this step as we will be mixing them in the prepared batter.
Add 2-3 tbsp of Coconut oil and mix them well. This way you can easily separate layers which otherwise would be sticking to one another.
Now add this chopped banana flower, finely chopped onion, turmeric and chopped curry leaves to the ground batter and mix well.
Here comes the important step of steaming. You can either use usual Idli stand or flat bottomed vessel and steam cook them in a streamer or pressure cooker without putting its weight. Or another best way is to wrap it in banana leaves and steam cook it, same way as Genasale. I have used Tatte-Idli Stand. Grease the plates with oil and pour the batter with ladle into each plate. Place each plate back in the stand and steam cook in pressure cook or Idli steamer or Steamer for about 20-30 minutes till cooked properly.
Let it cool for 5 minutes before opening the lid. Remove cooked Patrode from plates and cut them into desired shapes. You can serve it with Ghee/Coconut oil or proceed to next step.
Heat tawa/griddle and place cut Patrode pieces on it. Add a tsp of Oil/Ghee for each piece and cook on both the sides for about 2 minutes till nice brown spots starts to appear on the surface.
Serve it immediately with or without any chutney or plain tomato ketchup and enjoy. It tastes best when roasted with Ghee/Coconut Oil.

Notes:
Banana Blossom or Banana Heart grows on the end of long stem holding cluster of Bananas and this deep cherry red blossom is id considered as one of the delicacy in southern Indian states, both when cooked or eaten raw. Banana blossom has layers of tightly packed reddish flaps which wrap around rows of creamy florets with black stigma. Usually this black, hard stigma and transparent covering on every floret is removed as they are difficult to cook. I skipped this step as the steaming process helps in cooking them thoroughly. You can go ahead and remove them or just leave them as they are.
Try to stick to the amount of Tamarind and Jaggery used as they helps in mellowing the bitter taste of Banana Blossoms and spicy red chillies. If using old tamarind, reduce the quantity by ¾ th of the original quantity.
To steam cook, add about water depending on the size of pressure cooker you use. In my case I had to add about 2½ cups of water (about 1½-2 inches). Place the Idli stand and cover the lid without putting its weight and steam cook for about 20-30 mins.
The left over Patrode pieces can be stored in zip lock bag once they are completely cooled and can be frozen for about 1-2 months in freezer. When needed heat then in microwave (don’t thaw) and then roast them on tawa with ghee/oil and serve.