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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Banana Flower...Mochar Ghonto

Again a Bong recipe...this time a vegetarian one, though addition of shrimps could have converted it into a non-vegetarian one!
Banana trees are found in abundance in rural Bengal and in Bengal every part of a Banana tree and flowers are utilised.
Stem or pith - Thor in Bengali is made into a tasty vegetarian dish rich in Iron content.
Flower-Mocha (in Bengali) is what I made for dinner tonight.
Leaves - Traditional plates for food. And they serve as a wrap for preparing smoked or grilled items. Even for religious and social rituals they are utilised.
Fruit- of course the banana fruit!!! Raw bananas are used as vegetables..

Rich in nutritional value, Mocha or Banana flower is one of the favourite vegetarian dishes of Bengal.

Now coming to the Banana Flower Recipe .... Mochar Ghonto ('Ghonto' in Bengali means veggie mix)


-Banana Flower-1
-Whole garam masala like cardamom (elaichi), cinnamon, clove
-Bay leaf (Tej pata):1 or 2
-Ginger paste : 1 tspn
-Coconut - it should be cubed and fried. But today due to lack of time and energy, I just grated and sauted it in a little oil.
-Turmeric:1 tsp
-Whole Cumin seeds (Jeera) - 1 tsp
-Powdered mix of Coriander & Cumin seeds (Dhone+jeera powder) : 1/2 tspn each
-Boiled Bengal gram:1/2 cup (Again, today I didnt have that and used 1/2 cup peas instead)
-Clarified butter (Ghee) :1 tsp
-Garam masala (Dry roasted & ground into powder) : 1/2 tsp
-Green chillies : 2-3
-Potato cut into small cubes & fried: 1/2 cup
-Oil : 5-6tbsp (This is a dish which requires oil on the higher side)
-Salt to taste
-Sugar : a pinch

Procedure :
1.Throw away the outer purple cover of the flower.Take each bunch of banana flower, separate the florets, remove the stigma from the centre of each floret and the bracts (the translucent outer coverpluck the centre of each flower and chop into tiny pieces. (The detailed procedure is demonstrated here : Wash them well. Soak into salt water and boil the chopped flowers. Drain out the water. The toughest part is over!

2.Heat oil in the wok.

3.Add to the heated oil, the whole jeera grain and while they splutter, add the whole garam masala & bay leaf.

4.Add the boiled chopped banana flowers and stir it around in the wok.

5.Add salt, sugar, ginger paste and again mix them well with the flowers

6.Add the paste made out of turmeric, jeera and coriander powders. Sprinke water and mix well by stirring.

7.Add the fried cubed potatoes

8.Add the coconut cubes (grated & fried coconut in today's preparation) and the peas. If bengal gram (brown chana) is being used, which is more prevalent and also tastier, add the soaked chana along with the whole garam masala & jeera seasoning (as given in procedure Cover the wok with a lid, till the chana gets fried, as else the oil splutters and makes a mess of the kitchen!!!

9. Sprinkle water.

10.Lower the flame and cover the wok. Let it cook for about 10minutes. From time to time, remove the lid and stir the ghonto.

11. Add a couple of slit green chillies.

12. You'll know the cooking is over when the ghonto (a Bengali a term used to refer a well-integrated mix of veggies) is well binded.

13.In a skillet, heat the ghee to which add 1/2 tspn of the roasted & ground garam masala mix. Add this to the almost ready ghonto.

14. Mix well. The Mocha Ghonto is ready to serve.

Note: Fried shrimps may be added as a replacement / in addition to the coconut (cubed/grated).

This recipe goes to the WEEKEND HERB BLOGGING #171 hosted for the week by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. The history of WEEKEND HERB BLOGGING is available here. The logo for the event is .....


HR said...

How long shall we restrict drooling?Any answer to my query? No, nobody has any answer. The author has done a fantastic job by providing us the recipe of Mochar ghawnto, the dish I love to devour.Lot of appreiation goes to the author for it. But it is an injustice to a foodie and gluton like me. How long I have to remain satisfied by watching pictures on computer screen? When am I going to relish the delicacy?
Ha! Ha! Ha!
Author seems to have multiferous interest. She is regularly posting in whims and wishes blog, tried her hand in writing verse and now debut in culinary world.
I hope she will undoubtedly succeed in this new world like the one she has done in whims and wishes blog.

Laurie Constantino said...

What a very interesting dish this is - I can't even imagine what banana flowers taste like. I'd like to find out.

SGD said...

@ Laurie...Do give it a try. It a tasty dish, high on nutritous value...
The only downside of this dish is the chopping/mincing of the florets...but I guess the taste is worth the hassle!
Thanks for visiting my blog.
Visited your blog...You have an interesting blog of exotic dishes...

naperville mom said...

Thanks for this recipe. Now when I see banana flowers, I won't be wondering what to do with it...

Gourmet Mama said...

Mmmm. I just grabbed the banana flower off a bunch of bananas that pulled my father-in-law's banana tree over. They usually leave them to rot, harvesting only the bananas, but I really wanted to try cooking the flowers! Thanks for this recipe.

PreeOccupied said...

I take a bow! Mochar Ghonto is the one of the most difficult things to make in authentic Bengali cuisine and you have done it so gracefully- without staining your fingernails?


My Mum makes the best Mocha'r Gonto with the lal chola. I haven't eaten it in years. We do get mocha in Chinatown and the Bangladeshi stores here, but I have never kind of gathered the courage. Maybe one day...soon!