I had been grocery shopping this weekend and found some vazhathandu (Banana stem). I knew I had to get it as it’s been ages since I have eaten vazhathandu and it used to be one of my favorite vegetables. I asked my mil for recipes using vazhathandu and she gave me few options. Since we had had a heavy lunch I decided to do a simple soup for dinner and my mil was more than happy to share her soup recipe with me. This soup is very simple and when I heard the recipe which had such minimal ingredients, I was skeptical as to how it would taste. But it was really good, bringing out the taste of the banana stem with the subtle flavor of lemon and ginger. I am pretty sure I will be making more of this soup from now. Banana stem is so full of fiber and very good for people with kidney stones as it helps flush out the toxins from the body. It is very easy to digest and its high fiber content keeps you full for a long time.
You are supposed to add either lemon juice or butter milk to the soup I have added lemon juice to keep it vegan. But some butter milk mixed to the soup works very well too.
- 4 cups Vazhathandu / Banana stem chopped into cubes
- 1 inch piece ginger ( keep it whole as you will be discarding it after cooking)
- 1 small green chilly slit
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 small potato cubed
- 11/2 tsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 to 21/2 cups water
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 sprig curry leaves
Method: (Instant pot recipe)
Wash the banana stem and remove the outer smooth layer. Once you peel off the outer layer, you will see that they start getting textured. This is the part you use for cooking, Chop it into small cubes and set it aside.
Switch on the saute mode and add the onion and ginger and green chilly. Saute for a minute and add the chopped vazhathandu, cubed potato, water, salt and pressure cook in manual high for 15 minutes.
(Note – The vazhathandu I got was very fibrous and it needed 15 minutes to cook. If your banana stem is tender and not all that fibrous, you will need less cooking time. To find out, taste the banana stem after pressure cooking it and see if you can still feel the fiber when you eat them. If so, they need to be cooked some more)
When the cooking is done, do a quick release or natural pressure release and discard the green chilly and ginger ( discarding them is optional) . Use a hand blender or food processor to puree the banana stem mixture. Now if you want a thick version of the soup and if your banana stem was tender, you can use it as such. If not, use a strainer and strain the pulp and use the liquid to get a thin soup.
Add lemon juice and pepper to the soup and make a tadka of curry leaves and add it to the soup. Serve it very hot!
Note : You can add some sour butter milk instead of lemon juice in the end if not vegan.
I did not add any pepper as my green chilly was very spicy.
To make this in the normal pressure cooker, follow the same instructions. You will have to cook the banana stem until nice and soft (say 3 to 4 whistles) and the rest is same as above