There was a time when I had to travel a great deal to lay my hands on plantains/raw bananas. And I think that it was probably easier for me to go to Madras and have Amma make me some vazhaikkai karumadhu or kaela phodiyo than it was to travel from Gurgaon to CR Park to buy certain vegetables. This time around, I find that vegetables are far easier to come by in Gurgaon. And when the local Mother Dairy/Safal outlet inside my apartment complex sells vegetables that I like, I am certain that this city has come a long way.
I made a version of vazhaikkai podimas sometime back. Once I'd finished making it, I realized that this wasn't close to what I'd eaten growing up. My Mami in Bombay used to make a lot of Tamil dishes. And she didn't stop with sambar and rasam. She'd make things like paruppu usli and podimas. Amma didn't make podimas, but my Mami did. I decided to get her recipe and try it. It turned out to be very tasty. I have made it a couple of times since and it never fails to impress.
2 Raw Bananas/Plantains, steamed, peeled and grated
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Urad Dal
1.4 tsp Chana Dal
2 Green Chillies, chopped
1 tbsp Coconut, scraped
a Pinch of Turmeric Powder (optional)
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the urad and chana dals. When the urad dal turns light brown, add the mustard seeds and the asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the green chillies, the turmeric, if using, and the grated bananas. Add the salt and take off the heat. Stir in the lime juice and add the coconut. Mix well.
This makes for a great side with a traditional Tamil lunch. Or you could even eat it as a salad like I do. Either way, it is a keeper recipe.