Oriya cusine boasts of typically low calorie preparations which are easy to prepare and good to eat. The dominant spices are besara(mustard seeds ground with garlic), and pancha-phutana (mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek and black cumin ). The main course invariably incorporates rice, dal and various vegetable prepartions.
The low oil and spice content invariably makes it a delight for the calorie consious and those suffering from high blood pressure and hyperacidity related disorders.
Spiced Banana Stem Buttermilk ( A digestive Summer drink )
"What !!! U made Sol Kadhi again ? ".
That was hubby wailing from the kitchen as he spotted yet another pitcher of light pink liquid sitting prettily on the counter. Unlike me who spent more that a year in Pune savoring the unique culinary heritage of the place, the poor guy is yet to acquire a taste for Kokum or it's pungent flavor profile as he described it to one of his Odia friends.
"Nopes. There you go again. Judging by mere appearances. Why don't you just take a whiff ?", I replied back. Silence ensued. A full minute ticked by and then some more time lapsed. The suspense was getting on my nerves. Finally I saved the Word document on which I had been slaving for sometime and stepped into the kitchen.
"Gotcha". I surprised him and in the process almost made the glass slip out of his hands. After finding him sipping merrily from my pitcher and simultaneously being engrossed in his phone, that was the least I could do to get back at him. Not a word of appreciation !! Hmm....aren't men perfect examples of slobs ?
After experimenting with a variety of raw vegetable juices that can be included in my family's menu, this one turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Not only it is loaded with soluble fibers, the raw banana stem is beneficial in curing a variety of gastro-intestinal disorders. And it is especially good after a heavy meal or during the summer months when the digestive tract turns sluggish. Plus it tastes really good when mixed with buttermilk and a few spices. In fact, I found it to be a good substitute for rasam ( which gives warmth to the body ) on the hot days.
But the single greatest advantage of this recipe is that it can also be prepared by people who lack the skills to chop the banana stem. That has been the major hindrance i face when I advice people to include this wonderful vegetable in their regular diet.
Read on for the recipe -
a pinch of cumin seeds
Preparation Time - 10 mins ( plus 1 hour standby )
2 cups buttermilk
2-3 inches of tender banana stem
a sprig of curry leaves
1 dry red chili
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp oil
salt to taste
Preparation - Remove the outer layers of the banana stem. Wash the inner core and wipe it dry.
Slice off and discard about 1/2 inch of the banana stem from both the ends. Cut slices about 3-4 mm thick and soak the round pieces in the buttermilk. Keep aside for 1 hour.
Transfer the buttermilk and the banana stem to a blender jar. Give it a good buzz and then strain the liquid. Discard the fibrous solids.
Heat the oil in a tempering pan. Add the red chili, peppercorn, mustard and cumin seeds.
Once they get popping, add the curry leaves too. Remove from the flame.
Add the tempering to the buttermilk. Season with salt and check for the consistency.
Serve at room temperature.
Can be enjoyed as a after-meal digestive drink. Or have it mixed along with rice during meals.