Raw Banana is known as Kaya in Malayalam. Unripe Bananas are used for making different side dishes in Kerala. Raw Plantains (Vazhakka) are mostly used for making Thoran, Mezhkkupuratti, Erisheri and so on. A friend told me that they cook Raw Plantains with Tapioca/Yuca and it tastes excellent. Vazhakka is also cooked with different kinds of Payaru (Beans) such as Achinga Payaru, Cherupayaru, Vanpayaru etc.
I had some Unripe Plantain (Pacha Ethakka/Nendhrakka) and made a simple stir fry with it. If you don’t have Raw Plantains, you can use Raw Bananas (Pacha Kaya) for the same recipe. I removed the outer skin of the raw plantains. However, some people like to cook it with skin. Here is the recipe for Vazhakka or Pacha Kaya Mezhkupuratti.
Serves: 5 to 6
- Raw Plantain – 2 big
- Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Diced Shallots (Kunjulli) – 5 or6 (Alternatively use diced Onions)
- Minced/Crushed Garlic – 4 cloves
- Red Chilly Flakes – 1 tsp
- Red Chilly Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Black Pepper Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Curry Leaves – a sprig
- Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Trim the edges of the plantain and lightly peel the thick outer skin. Dice it into small cubes. Soak it in water for five minutes and then wash it in several changes of water. This will remove the stickiness (kara).
- Boil the plantain pieces in plenty of water along with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and salt to taste until soft. It may take 7-8 minutes for the pieces to get cooked. Drain excess water and keep it aside. (You can also cover and cook the plantain with very little water but it may end up mushy. I prefer boiling it in plenty of water and then draining it.)
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet and splutter mustard seeds. Saute shallots, curry leaves and garlic until the shallots begin to lightly brown.
- Add the cooked plantain pieces to the skillet. Add 1/2 tsp red chilly powder and 1 tsp red chilly flakes. Add salt only if needed. Mix everything and then spread it out as much as possible.
- Allow the plantain pieces to lightly brown on the edges, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes. Add 1/4 tsp black pepper powder and toss everything.
- Finally, drizzle 1 tsp of coconut oil to coat the pieces. Remove from heat and serve with Rice.
- I prefer making Vazhakka Mezhkkupuratti completely dry but if you like it slightly mushy, just sprinkle a few tea spoons of water and keep it covered while cooking instead of allowing it to brown.