I was so excited when I saw mocha or banana flower in the Indian store recently. (Mocha is pronounced as Mo cha as in chair). It's been many years since I had one and in my mind the process of cleaning is complicated, one I have never attempted. I do remember my mother sitting with a boti and a newspaper in the kitchen, patiently rubbing her hands with oil and cleaning the flower and chopping it for ghonto.
My mother-in-law is visiting, and I was confident that between the two of us we will be able to tackle the cleaning. I called my parents to ask about ghonto recipe and for tips. As soon as I told them about the banana flower, my father gave me the recipe for mocha ghonto. All the tips came from my mother "soak the banana flower in turmeric water", "take out the stamen" "rub oil in your hands" etc.
I added some potatoes to the ghonto, and you can add some coconut, shrimp or even chana dal to mochar ghonto.
The end result was delicious, we had it with friends over lunch and it was gone in no time. We were so inspired with our success that we got another banana flower and my MIL gave me another recipe which is coming up in the next post.
With this mochar ghonto, I want to wish all of you a wonderful Durga Pujo season.
Ingredients (serves 5-6)1 banana blossom
1 1/2 medium potato cut into small cubes
1 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
1/2 tspoon cumin powder
1/2 tspoon red chilli powder
1/2 tspoon sugar
salt to taste
2-3 tbspoon oil
1 tspoon of ghee (for end)
2 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
Cleaning the mocha (banana flower)
Rub your hands with oil, then open the outer layer of banana blossom, take out the flower one by one and remove the stamen and chop it finely. Follow the same pattern for the other layer of blossom, until you reach the central heart, which is slightly pale yellow or off white in color. Chop it finely, you will notice some stickiness and this is where the oil will come in handy.
Then heat some water, add 1/2 tspoon turmeric powder soak the banana flower and leave it for 5-6 hours.
Heat up a deep pan, add half of the oil and saute the potatoes for 2-3 minutes. Take them out and set it aside.
Now add the rest of the oil and temper it with cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Then add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder. Take the chopped mocha out of the water, squeeze it nicely and add it to the pan. Saute it all together for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle little water and cover it and cook it for 3-4 minutes on low medium heat.
Add the salt and sugar and the potatoes and let it cook for another 4-5 minutes. Keep mashing the mocha with the wooden spatula to mix it together.