Dry Curry, Plant Based Dishes

Vazhai Thandu Usli | Banana Stem Stir fry | GF, V

Vazhai Thandu Usli | Banana Stem Stir fry | GF, V

Vazhai thandu or banana stem (literally the pith) is full of fibre rich nutrients. As outlined in my Vazhai Thandu Mor Kootu (Banana stem in spiced yoghurt gravy), it is a super healing food with high levels of B6 and potassium to help cholesterol or with weight loss.  Even recommended for kidney stones with reasonable success (am not a dietician or a doctor, so please do consult your doctor before administering any self medication). 

Vazhai Thandu Usli or Banana Stem dry Curry is a healthy vegan, GF dish made with Chopped Banana pith and lentils. Served as a accompaniment to Rasam or Sambhar.Pin

What is Usli / Usili?

A similar Usli is made with Banana Blossom (called Vazhaipoo in Tamil). Usli or Usili refers to a dry curry with a combo of steamed veggies and lentils. Similar dry curry with moong dal is this podalangai Podi Thooval

Vazhai Thandu Usli or Banana Stem dry Curry is a healthy vegan, GF dish made with Chopped Banana pith and lentils. Served as a accompaniment to Rasam or Sambhar.Pin

How to prep the Vazhai Thandu (Banana Stem)

Cleaning the pith can be labour intensive, but once the outer layers of the stem are removed and you reach the core, one basically cuts the stem into discs and then further dices them into bite sized pieces (almost as small as minced onion). These banana stem pieces are soaked in water to which a tsp of curd / buttermilk is added to prevent discolouration due to the high iron content in the banana pith. It’s quite laborious to chop the raw banana stem, but you can chop in advance and store in an airtight ziploc and use. I also make Morkootu (this veggie in curd gravy)

What can I serve this Usli with ? 

One of our family’s favourite, hubby and my little one can have this curry almost everyday … MIL and mom make this different ways, and we love both ! This one is mom’s version and goes well with Rasam Sambhar Kuzhambu + rice (yes, Sambhar and Kuzhambu are different for a Southie, but more on that another day!)

Vazhai Thandu Usli or Banana Stem dry Curry is a healthy vegan, GF dish made with Chopped Banana pith and lentils. Served as a accompaniment to Rasam or Sambhar.Pin

Now to today’s dish, it can be prepared in under 20 minutes. 

This month at Sshh Secret Cooking Challenge, we have Healthy Treats / Healthy Ideas that will auger well for a healthier 2022 . For this event, I was paired with Mayuri who gave me lemon juice and coconut to make this dish. She made this insanely delish Curried Chickpea stuffed Sweet Potatoes (yummmm.. can it get any healthier!! ) with the garlic and chillies I suggested to her. I also loved her Sweet Potato, Beans and Corn Wraps which are so apt for meals on the go once the schools reopen post the X mas vacation.

2021 was tumultuous in its own way (as for others too) but as a family we braved the odds and it was undoubtedly our family healthy eating habits that helped us overcome many challenges on the health front : a trend we would undoubtedly continue.  Be it cutting excessive sugars, or replacing refined carbs with healthier alternatives incl GF flours , going plant based (vegan) for most of our dishes, or arifrying / steaming instead of deep dry, these are dishes that are kid-approved. And like they say, charity begins at home . 

I would love to hear from you how you liked this recipe. Please take a moment to rate this recipe and leave any comment / questions you may have. I will respond them as soon as possible. If you have tried this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @sizzlingtastebuds / Twitter @Sizzlngtastebds using the tag #SizzlingTastebuds. Subscribe to my mailing list to get the new recipes straight in your mailbox.

If you are a fan of Healthy dishes like us, why don’t you check out the following Family Favourite recipes that you can whip up too ! 

I sincerely hope we have a Corona-free 2022 and wish all my readers, friends and well -wishers  a safe, healthy and happy 2022 and beyond ! 

  

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Vazhai Thandu Usli or Banana Stem dry Curry is a healthy vegan, GF dish made with Chopped Banana pith and lentils. Served as a accompaniment to Rasam or Sambhar.Pin

Let’s get how to make Vazhai Thandu Usli

Prep time : 20 mins. Cooking time : 20 mins. Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 Banana Stem  (tender, about 1 foot long)
  • 1/2 cup Split Green gram (yellow Moong dal)
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Grated coconut 
  • 1/2 TBSP Salt 
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp split black gram (Urad Dal)
  • 2 Dry red chillies
  • 1 Green Chilly (opt.)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves 
  • 1 tsp chopped coriander leaves (opt.)

Method:

  1. Peel the plantain stem and chop into rings about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Remove the fibre between the rings with your fingers and reserve in a cup of buttermilk to prevent discolouration
  3. Once all the discs (rings) are cut, finely chop the veggies. Use as much as required and store the remaining in ziploc as chopping this veggie is very labour intensive
  4. Meanwhile soak the moong dal in warm water for about 10 mins.
  5. Pressure cook the veggie and moong dal in separate containers with very little water & a pinch of turmeric for 2 – 3 whistles. 
  6. Cool and drain any water. If not using pressure cooker, boil till the dal turns slightly done but not mushy. Add a pinch of salt too.
  7. In a pan, heat oil. Prepare the tempering. Add the above veggie-dal mixture, curry leaves, salt, grated coconut, coriander leaves and stir lightly.
  8. Finish with Lemon juice. 
  9. Serve hot with Rasam /Sambhar / Kuzhambu with hot steamed rice. Goes well with chilled curd rice too!
Vazhai Thandu Usli or Banana Stem dry Curry is a healthy vegan, GF dish made with Chopped Banana pith and lentils. Served as a accompaniment to Rasam or Sambhar.Pin

Vazhai Thandu Usli

Kalyani
Vazhai Thandu Usli or Banana Stem dry Curry is a healthy vegan, GF dish made with Chopped Banana pith and lentils. Served as an accompaniment to Rasam or Sambhar.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 3 servings

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Thick Bottomed Pan
  • Steamer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Banana Stem tender, about 1 foot long
  • 1/2 cup Split Green gram yellow Moong dal
  • 1/4 cup Grated coconut fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp split black gram Urad Dal
  • 2 Dry Red Chillies
  • 1 Green chilly opt.
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves
  • 1 tsp Green coriander leaves opt.

Instructions
 

  • Peel the plantain stem and chop into rings about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Remove the fibre between the rings with your fingers and reserve in a cup of buttermilk to prevent discolouration
  • Once all the discs (rings) are cut, finely chop the veggies. Use as much as required and store the remaining in ziploc as chopping this veggie is very labour intensive
  • Meanwhile soak the moong dal in warm water for about 10 mins.
  • Pressure cook the veggie and moong dal in separate containers with very little water & a pinch of turmeric for 2 – 3 whistles.
  • Cool and drain any water. If not using pressure cooker, boil till the dal turns slightly done but not mushy. Add a pinch of salt too.
  • In a pan, heat oil. Prepare the tempering. Add the above veggie-dal mixture, curry leaves, salt, grated coconut, coriander leaves and stir lightly.
  • Finish with Lemon juice.
  • Serve hot with Rasam /Sambhar / Kuzhambu with hot steamed rice. Goes well with chilled curd rice too!
Keyword Gluten Free, No Onion No garlic, Plant Based, Raw Banana, Side Dish, Vegan
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30 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have heard a lot about this yum vazhai thandu usli but never hav had a chance to tatse it. Sounds extremely delicious and I think I should come to your place to enjoy it.

  2. I love vazhaithandu and parupusli is a loved one in our home. Very creative to use this veggie and make usli. I am going to try it when I spot a good fresh vazhaithandu.

  3. Preeti Shridhar

    5 stars
    I have never tried Vazhai Thandu Usli , although I do make usli with beans. Your recipe is tempting me to try it. Love that you have used moong dal for making usli. This makes the whole dish lighter on the stomach. A wonderful healthy recipe.

  4. Mayuri Patel

    5 stars
    Kalyani, I’ve yet to cook a dish using banana stem. Your healthy and tempting vazhai thandu usli recipe is bookmarked to try out when I am in India next as that is the best place to get banana stems in the market. Don’t be surprised if I land up at your door step to learn how to prepare banana stem for cooking.

  5. 5 stars
    I have not cooked with banana stem anytime as I was not sure how to clean it. Thanks for detailing out the steps. Hopefully I will try one day

  6. The World Through My Eyes

    5 stars
    Such a beauty of a dish!

    I love the idea of using banana stem to make usili. We almost always use it in poriyal, and I’m sure this preparation must be all the more flavourful and nutritious.

  7. 5 stars
    Banana stem dry curry sounds so healthy and delicious. A dish full of iron and other minerals. In Bengali we call it thor. And my mom used to make a dry curry with it. But in North India its not so popular. You made me nostalgic.

  8. Preethicuisine

    5 stars
    We love vazhai thandu Usli at my place. It is so delicious and nutritious. It is worth the effort that goes in to whipping this yummy usli.

  9. Poonam Bachhav

    5 stars
    I have yet to try my hands on Banana stem..This Vazhai Thandu Usli sounds absolutely flavorful and tempting!

  10. Vasusvegkitchen

    5 stars
    Such a tasty and fiber rich curry, like to have it with rasam rice and roti’s. Moong dal and coconut adds good taste to curry.

  11. This is such a healthy dish, full of protien and fiber. I have had banana stem stir fry with coconut. I would love to try this version with moong dal.

  12. Narmadha Thiagarajan

    5 stars
    Such a healthy stir fry with banana stem. Thanks for the detailed steps on cleaning and preparation. It is so helpful.

  13. Sasmita Sahoo

    5 stars
    Banana Stem Stir Fry looks so delicious and nutritious. We also use this in many ways

  14. 5 stars
    This recipe reminds me that amma had made usili using vazhai thandu long long ago …thanks for taking me down that memory lane

  15. 5 stars
    I haven’t seen a bit of vazhathandu for 4 years now!! That is one vegetable I wish for all the time. The usli sounds delightful. I love these in weekend lunches.

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