May 24, 2007

ARITI DAVVA AAVA KOORA/Banana Stem Curry



My mother never was, or is, a gourmet cook.Her philosophy of cooking is to keep it simple always.Her methods have had a lot of influence over how I cook our daily meals.But among everything else she cooked,the one thing that stands out in my memory is her Ariti Davva Koora(except for her sambar and chaaru of course).Ariti Davva is literally,the tender stem of Banana trees.It is ivory coloured,but like banana,blackens in no time when exposed to air.We had a very nice lady as our domestic help when we were younger.Janakamma or Janko as we fondly called her,would very patiently chop the banana stem,removing fibres and chopping it into very small pieces and putting them in diluted buttermilk to stop it from turning black.My mother would then cook curries using them.




The particular texture of ariti davva is what attracts me.It is very porous and absorbs flavours really nicely.The stem itself,as you will have guessed now,is full of fibre.That is why,even after it is cooked,it retains its crunchiness which is just wonderful.

Cutting the stem is a time taking task.First,the outer blackened layer is removed.Since it has lots of fibre,it is then usually cut into thin slices and the fine fibres which stand out,are taken off.Then the slices are chopped into really small pieces and put into diluted buttermilk to prevent it from becoming dark on exposure to air.But once this has been done,it cooks very quickly.I chopped it in the morning and kept it ready for the night to make the curry.

Aava is telugu for Mustard.Mustard and rice are soaked in water for some time so as to soften the mustard grains and then ground into a fine paste.This paste is usually added to curries at the end.It gives a really nice flavour.



On a recent trip to the Indian grocery store,I was lucky enough to find a piece of banana stem.I immediately grabbed it,having longed to eat it for as long as 6 years.So without much ado,here is the Ariti Davva curry that I learnt from my mother:

Ingredients:2 cups finely chopped Banana stem

1 tsp split urad dal

1 tsp mustard

2 dry red chillies,broken into 2-3 bits

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

6-8 curry leaves

For the Mustard paste:2 tsp mustard seeds

1 1/2 tbsp raw rice

3-4 dry red chillies

1 lime sized ball of tamarind,soaked and juice extracted

or

1 tbsp tamarind paste

Method:Soak the mustard and rice along with dry red chillies in some water for atleast 2 hours.This will soften the mustard seeds.


Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan.Add the urad dal and mustard seeds and let them brown and splutter.Add the dry red chillies and curry leaves.

Now add the drained banana stem pieces.Mix well and let cook for 2 minutes.Now add turmeric and salt, and add 1/2 cup water to it.Close the pan and let it cook on low till the banana stem feels softer.You can test by putting a small piece in your mouth-it should feel crunchy but cooked.

Drain the water from the mustard and grind it along with rice and chillies to a fine paste.

Add the tamarind juice or paste(if using paste,dilute with a little water) to the cooked banana stem.Make sure that there is some water left in the pan.If not,add some more water before adding the tamarind paste.This is a gravy curry,so you do need some water.

Now once the curry is heated through,and comes to a boil,add the finely ground mustard-chilli paste.Mix well and take off the heat.

Once mustard is added,donot let the curry cook on heat as the mustard will turn the curry bitter.

Serve with hot steaming rice and a dollop of ghee.

My Notes:This curry goes very well with rice, and chapathis as well.We had it with chapathis yeaterday and it was a great combination.

Thanks to Lakshmi K of Veggie cuisine who started the RCI,I have had this wonderful chance to delve into the beautiful memories of my past and recreate one of my timeless favourites.
I would like to submit this for this month's RCI Andhra Cuisine hosted by Latha of Masala Magic.

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18 comments:

Asha said...

I saw veggie in a can when I was searching for JF but didn't any recipes.Thanks for this.Looks delicious.Great info too.

Roopa said...

Vini the masala looks very delicious quite new to use mustard for banana stem.lovely recipe

Inji Pennu said...

Great post Vini!

Sharmi said...

I love banana stem kura. way back in India we used to have this. I dont find this in US. you have made it look so yummy. missing them.

Sia said...

oh wow...its been ages since i had banana stem kura... lucky u to get it here in UK. in my case, even if i get i dont think i will be able to cook something amazing like this vini:)

swapna susarla said...

looks yummy vinik
my mother prepares chutney with this.i mean with ava.it has been a long time i tasted it.:-)
when once i go back to india i will try this at my mother's place.
perfect entry for RCI.

Madhavi said...

hi vini!i saw ur question abt how to keep search engine in your blog in dining hall blog.i thought of sharing some info i knew abt it.i cud not find any email link of urs on the blog.so,iam posting it here.plz go thro' the link posted below for a detailed descp' of how to add custom search engine in ur blog.i added a search engine in my blog using this website
hope this will help you
http://tips-for-new-bloggers.blogspot.com/2007/02/add-blogger-search-box.html
Madhavi

Suma Gandlur said...

Must be delicious. I remember eating arati bonda koora during our visits to our grand mother's place, though I don't remember the taste. Thanks for reminding my grand ma.

Madhavi said...

very nice recipe and mouth watering pictures.this curry is one of my favourite recipes.lucky you.i wish u were my next door neighbor when u made this recipe.I cud have got a chance to taste it.missed it!!! :)

Sandeepa said...

Wow never knew banana stem could be cooked this way. So ypu did all the chopping/cleaning part and then made this ? I also liked the name :)

Vcuisine said...

Nice Post Vini. Viji

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Hay this is very different one... and great...I love it....

Chandrika said...

Vini, That is a wonderful recipe. Thank you..My mom usually makes a fry with banana stem..

Linda said...

Hi Vini, every time I see a photo of banana stem, it reminds me of hearts of palm -- but I see by reading your post that they are not interchangable! Now I'll have to look for a banana stem -- your curry is really appealing :)

Vini K said...

Thanks Asha,Roopa,Inji.

Sharmi,this is my fav..I used to miss this when I was in US too:)

Sups,thanks so much dear..with practice you definitely will be able to cook this:)

Swapna,ya,mee too..had this after 6-7 yrs..

Madhavi,thanks dear.I looked at the link you provided.great help.Thanks for your comments too:)

Sandeepa,yes..for the love of banana stem,I did this:)thanks

Viji,Sukanya,thanks :)

Chandrika,thanks dear.Never tried frying,maybe this time I will.

Linda,yes,this is different from hearts of palm.Thank you dear:)

DEEPA said...

yummy one ....looks so tasty ..thks for sharing

Gini said...

Banana stem- I haven't had it for almost 6 years too. That looks great.

Faryal said...

Hi, Need a little help I want to try this dish but can you tell how to clean this Banana Stem and use it for this curry. Thanks.. From Dubai