Sunday Snapshots: Banana Blossom

What?! Are Sunday Snapshots back?! I hope so, my friend, I hope so!

Banana blossoms are considered to be exotic in the US. They shouldn't be as the banana plant is one of the oldest plants known to man and the banana fruit one of the most common fruits. The banana plant makes pretensions to be a tree when, in fact, it is the largest flowering herbaceous plant. If you haven't seen a banana blossom before, then these Sunday Snapshots might interest you.

Banana blossom
Purple red blossom

Banana blossom
Always intriguing

Banana blossom
Peel away the reddish-purple bracts to reveal the flowers

Take the trouble to peel away each layer and see more of nature's splendor.
Each flower becomes that ever-so-familiar banana

Banana blossom
The bracts and flowers become paler the closer to the inside they are.

Bract or flower
Female flower, with a prominent stigma

Tender
Tender heart of the banana blossom

Apart from the darker tough outer bracts, almost all of the blossom is edible. I'll have a recipe coming up later this week.

Banana plants by the roadside
Banana plants by the roadside in Viet Nam

Banana blossom by the roadside in Viet Nam
Young green bananas emerging from the banana blossom

BananaBlossom-9375
Green bananas growing from a banana blossom

Banana plants became a common sight as we started descending to a lower elevation through the Central Highlands of Viet Nam. These pictures aren't the greatest because it was very windy but they show you how bananas emerge from a banana blossom.

11 comments:

Torviewtoronto said...

beautiful pictures I can find it in Canada in Indian and Chinese stores

Thistledew Farm said...

is Bananas are amazing, especially the quick ripening period. One day they are just about perfect and the next, on the ground overripe. Truly amazing! Great photos.

wampeter said...

Lovely! Do you have any recipes that call for it? I have a flower in my refrigerator and want to try something other than the standard "paruppu usli"

Sharmistha Guha said...

Hello Manisha....new to your blog..stumbled upon it literally and found a treasure trove!

Banana Blossom or 'Mocha' (ch as in chai) as we call in Bengali is a much loved 'veggie' and is made into a delicious vegetarian dish (sometimes non-vegetarian with prawns added) called Mochar Ghonto....

Will be a regular on your blog!

Sharmistha

Desisoccermom said...

I never knew about the blossoms till I found them soaking in water in a friend's kitchen a few years ago. I have yet to eat or make anything from them though. Will wait for your recipe.

@Sharmistha, I too stumbled on IFR, though not literally (kinda impossible to do on the net), and have been a regular since. :-) You are in good hands here.

Sharmistha Guha said...

@Desisoccermom...stumbled upon...virtually? ;))

Manasi said...

Beautiful shots. I have never tasted anything made from banana blossom. Will you post some recipes soon?

Manisha Pandit said...

Torviewtoronto, thanks! And, yes, easily found in Asian stores. Not so much the Indian stores in my neck of the woods, though.

Thistledew Farm, do you have a banana plant?! Lucky you! They are amazing. Practically every part of the banana plant has a use!

wampeter, I hope to post a recipe today. Fingers crossed! It is much simpler than a South Indian usli, as most Maharashtrian food is. So I hope you aren't disappointed!

Sharmistha, welcome to IFR! I want to make your mochar ghonto! Thank you for stumbling, not falling and I hope you stick around!

DSM, I didn't care for banana blossoms when I was younger. My recipe is very simple, put together with the help of my cousins and niece in India. It is an acquired taste, I think, when cooked without too many layers of spices. And, wow! Thank you for the compliments. Now my head won't fit into my helmet. Good thing I'm not in the mood to go bike riding!

Manasi, it's a very common "vegetable" along the Indian coast, especially in Goa. A recipe should be coming up soon!

Nandini Vishwanath said...

Just saw your Whole Foods post. We also add chana dal and urad dal to the tadka :) And some add coconut. Yum!

A slightly more complicated recipe would be to add tamarind extract and jaggery and let it stew until it's all absorbed. The balance of sweet and sour is tough but one of my childhood favourites. With that, I miss my grandmum now :(

Poornima Krishnan said...

Love your pictures of my favourite banana blossom. We mallus cook it often. Delicious. Miss them here.

Preeti Kashyap said...

wow i so miss banana blossoms...we call it vazha poo and make a ton of yummies with it. I remember my Gma making vazha poo vadais, vazha poo usili, vazha poo peanut curry....sadly I dont get them in upstate NY.... :((((