Every time I sit down to have a Udupi cuisine lunch my heart fills with joy. So many items will be served one after the other on a plantain leaf. And half way through I would be full, yet with great enthusiasm, I get through all the delicious desserts & be full & overwhelmed by the end of it. :) And a nap is mandatory after such a lunch. :) Also, you won't feel hungry until dinner with a heavy lunch like that. :)
Udupi cuisine lunches include chutneys as part of the banana leaf lunch. I don't know how others eat them, but I love devouring on these chutneys. I love mango chutney, banana flower chutney, horse gram chutneys, mixed herb chutneys, ridge gourd chutney & literally any kind of chutney. :) They also make banana stem chutney & it's delicious.
Banana stem is high in fibre & like the fruit is a good source of Potassium & Vitamin B6. It also maintains fluid balance in our body & has cooling properties. Many reasons to include them in your diet.
After the banana brunch are harvested, the banana plant is no longer of use. Banana leaves & the banana stem are chopped off for use. The outer fibrous layers of the banana stem are peeled & the innermost cylindrical part of the banana stem, that can't be peeled anymore are used in cooking. Tender banana stems are easy to chew. As they mature they harden & are quite tough & fibrous. So, tender most banana stems are best used in cooking. You know this by looking at the thickness of the stem. The tender most banana stems have thin inner edible cylinders like in the pics below. As they mature they tend to thicken.
I love cooked crunchy banana stem in curries & this chutney made using banana stem. What's your favourite banana stem dish?
Outer fibrous layers peeled:
One more layer of peel & you get the edible banana stem.
A very tender banana stem gave me that thin & that long a piece to use in cooking. Tender banana stem that can't be peeled anymore. The innermost edible part of banana stem that you get after peeling off the outer layers.
Recipe to make banana stem chutney. Udupi cuisine style. It's called gabbe chutney in Konkani, gabbo means banana stem in Konkani.
1. Dice banana stem into small pieces. Dip it in a bowl of water to prevent their discoloration & to remove any bitterness present. Add a pinch of salt. That aids banana stem give out any bitterness it has.
2. Grind grated coconut along with dried red chillies, tamarind, salt, mustard seeds, crystal asafoetida soaked in a teaspoon of water, into a coarse paste using as little water as possible.
3. Add in chopped banana stem pieces & grind them into a paste. You can keep the chutney consistency a little coarse & not grind it into a fine paste.
4. Transfer this dry banana chutney into a bowl & season it.
5. Seasoning: Heat oil in a tempering pan, add in mustard seeds. When they start popping, add in urad dal & them sizzle for few seconds. Add in pieces of dried red chilli, curry leaves, a generous amount of asafoetida powder.
Once urad dal has started to brown, add this seasoning to the chutney in the bowl & mix well.
6. Serve as a side dish for lunch or with dosas & idlis.
P.S: I like having urad dal in this chutney as they provide a nice crunch. You can choose to skip them too.