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Showing posts with label Banana stem recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Banana stem recipe. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Chingudi Manja Besara ( Prawns cooked with banana stem)

'Too many mouths to feed'. A refrain I have often heard when documenting Odia recipes or even the processes involved in creating them. Ladies in such households often got creative with their cooking, devising unusual workarounds when a choice ingredient was in short supply. Such clever treatment was often reserved for ingredients that lay on the extreme ends of the desirability scale. For example, prawns or the head of a fish would be highly sought after while the tail or the innards of the fish would be mostly undesirable. Hence the recipes that centred around them evolved in response to the need of catering to each family member without the other one feeling discriminated. 

But as those sizable joint families succumbed to the vagaries of urban migration, they swallowed up an entire genre of recipes that were created to ensure each member got their share of the nutritional pie. It is an entirely different matter that such divisions often lacked equality and often called for the less privileged members of the household to supplement their meals with ingenious recipes that could be whipped up in a jiffy. The 'pagaw' as we collectively term them, comprises an array of dishes that have a distinct 'umami' element to them. And even a small portion of them is enough to elevate the most frugal meal.

I had a chance to cook a few such 'Jugaad' recipes last week at my in-law's place with inputs from my father-in-law. He had been expressing the desire to eat some of the dishes which were a staple during his childhood. While they cannot be classified as lost, they are no longer being cooked regularly in most Odia homes. Freshwater prawns cooked with tender banana stem and a smidgen of mustard paste is one such culinary gem that needs to be brought back into the public consciousness. It is sheer magic when a handful of prawns caught from a local water body meets an ingredient that was found in abundance in most Odia homes and never really sold in the markets. Mostly exchanged with relatives and neighbors as a goodwill gesture, the banana stem was always an important part of the retinue of vegetables that made up a regular meal. 

Chingudi Manja Besara

Freshwater prawns cooked with tender banana stem and a smidgen of mustard paste. The heat of the chili and the mustard balances out the inherent sweetness of the star ingredients. A whiff of mustard oil and a slight whiff of garlic add to the flavor profile. (never make the last two overpowering)

  • 1 cup finely chopped tender banana stem
  • 1/5 cup small prawns (cleaned)
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 tsp mustard paste ( mustard seeds + garlic + green chili )
  • 2-3 green chili
  • 1-2 garlic clove 
  • 3 tsp mustard oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste


Marinate cleaned prawns with salt and turmeric. 
Heat 2 tsp oil in a wok. Add the prawns and sauté them for 4-5 mins. Remove and keep aside.
Add the remaining oil to the wok. When hot, add mustard seeds, green chili, and crushed garlic. 

Add the chopped banana stem along with the mustard paste, turmeric, and salt. Cover and cook on low flame till the banana stem is almost done.
Add the prawns and cook for 2-3 mins. Drizzle a little mustard oil on top. Switch off the flame.

Serve after a couple of minutes with hot rice or Pakhala.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Banana Stem Cutlets (Kadali Manja Bara/Tikki/Cutlet)

How many of you were disappointed when Gautam Gulati went on to win Big Boss Season 8 while Karishma Tanna was literally left stranded ?? Yeah, even Pritam went home with a cash prize of Rs 25 lakhs. India has once again proved that it prefers sons over daughters. While it is a much debated topic that Tanna's chances were adversely affected by her relationship with Upen Patel, Gautam escaped unscathed though he had a fling with a much older Diandra. The 'maa ka beta' or Mamma's boy images worked well with the audiences while that of a much independent woman ditching her old boyfriend for a new one obviously did not click. This is one debate that could go on and on but I would very much like to hear what most of you think about it . Do share your comments on this page.

And these banana stem cutlets are the perfect snacks to munch on while discussing about this development. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup finely chopped banana stem 
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 3-4 garlic flakes
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 pinch turmeric
  • 2 tsp besan
  • 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 4-5 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • coriander leaves for garnishing
  • a handful of peanuts

Cooking - Dry roast the peanuts on a pan. Remove and keep aside till they cool down. Crush them lightly t break into smaller pieces.

Heat 3 tsp oil in a wok. Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Fry till onions turn translucent.

Add the banana stem pieces along with all the spice powders. Cover with a lid and cook for 12-15 mins till it becomes soft.

Allow the mixture to cool down slightly before transferring it to a grinder jar. Give it a whizz or two.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the besan, cornflour and chopped coriander leaves. Mix well and then divide into 5-6 equal parts. Shape each portion into a flattened disc. Roll it gently over the crushed peanuts.

Heat a non-stick tawa and drizzle the remaining oil on it. Place the discs on the tawa and cook on both sides till tiny brown spots begin to appear.

Serve hot with some chutney or raita.

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