Looks like the good old 'vazhaipoo' or banana blossom is high in demand again. A kilogram of this tasty and fibre-rich vegetable costs Rs 22 in the local markets and Rs 14 in the wholesale market. Around 25 sacks of banana blossoms reach the various markets in Thrissur from Tamil Nadu. Fifteen sacks reach at the Saktan market alone.
Though produced in huge quantities, banana blossoms aren't commonly used in the Tamil cuisine. There, it costs just Rs 10 for a kilo. Keralites have become extremely health conscious and they are eager to include organic and nutritious food items in their regular menu. This is one of the reasons why the demand for organically grown banana blossoms has gone up in the state.
Though high quality banana blossoms, that are tastier, are produced in Kerala, the farmers tend to throw them away. Here, the commonly available ones are the blossoms of big banana plantains while the ones that come from Tamil Nadu are from small bananas. Mohan Peringathra,who is a plantain farmer in Melur says that the farmers are not able to meet the overwhelming demand for banana blossoms especially at the major markets.
Banana blossoms are storehouses of dietary fibres that are beneficial for the human body. Besides, it also contains vitamins A, E and C. The potassium in it helps reduce blood pressure. It also controls menstrual blood flow.
Delicious 'thoran' or stir fry can be easily prepared using banana blossom. To prepare the thoran, wash the banana blossom and finely chop it. Marinate the chopped banana blossom with turmeric powder, salt, and coconut oil. Give it a good mix. Cook it in an earthen vessel with the lid on. Prepare a tempering by spluttering mustard seeds and curry leaves in fresh coconut oil. Add this tempering into the cooked banana blossom.