Just like coconut, the banana plant is also an important part of the Indian culture. Not just the fruit and the leaves that are used as a natural plate to serve food on, in many regional cuisines, the flower also is equally valuable as it is used to make many delicacies. One such recipe made with the banana flower is this Vazhaipoo Vadai. These simple, crisp and soft tasting vadai also have Bengal gram (chana dal) and are vegan and gluten free as well. A special from the South Indian food repertoire.
About Vazhaipoo Vadai
‘Vazhaipoo’ is simply the Tamil word for ‘banana flower.’ Thus, when speaking specially of the Vazhaipoo Vadai, it is quite obvious that this recipe variation is from the cuisine of Tamil Nadu. Other South Indian cuisines may also have their own ways of making these vadas with banana flower.
Not just in South India, the banana flower is a well-known delicacy in Bengali cuisine too. There, the banana flower is referred to as the ‘kolar mocha,’ and there are many dishes that are made with it. The mochar ghonto is one of the iconic ones.
But like I said, there are other versions of the Tamil style Vazhaipoo Vadai and in this post, I have shared the recipe, which I follow to make the scrumptious Banana Flower recipe at home.
Apart from the banana flower, other ingredients that go in this recipe of Vazhaipoo Vadai are just your basic ones like chana dal, onion, ginger, green chilies, curry leaves, coriander leaves and some whole spices. These are essentially fried in a neutral tasting oil.
Once you are done prepping up the banana flower, the recipe is simple. A semi-fine paste of chana dal, fennel seeds, cinnamon and whole black pepper is made, to which the finely chopped banana flower along with other ingredients is added and mixed.
After this, you just have to shape the Vazhaipoo Vadai mixture into medium sized patties and deep-fry them in hot oil till they turn a perfect golden and are crispy.
Note that while grinding the chana dal, I don’t add any water. If you add water, then it becomes difficult to shape the vadas. Also, some whole chana dal in the mixture is absolutely fine. However, if you are unable to grind, add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and then grind.
To make vazhaipoo vadai, you will need cleaned and chopped banana flower. Cleaning banana flower takes time. So you can prep it some hours or a day before you make the vadas.
I have shared the complete method of cleaning and chopping banana flowers. You can check the detailed post with step by step pics here – How to clean banana flower.
Banana flower is very healthy and there are many recipes you can make with them. These vadai is one such banana flower recipe I make at home.
Serve vazhaipoo vadai hot or warm with coconut chutney or coriander chutney or mint chutney. These crispy vadas also go well with tomato ketchup.
How to make Vazhaipoo Vadai
1. Rinse a couple of times and then soak ½ cup chana dal (bengal gram) in enough water for 2 hours. Then drain all the water very well.
2. Take the chana dal in a grinder jar. Add 1 inch cinnamon, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds and ¼ teaspoon whole black pepper.
3. Grind to a semi-fine paste. Some whole chana dal should be there in the mixture. I have not added any water, while grinding.
If you add water, then it becomes difficult to shape the vadas. If you are not able to grind at all, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and then grind.
Making vadai mixture
4. Take the ground chana dal paste in a mixing bowl. Add ¾ to 1 cup of finely chopped banana flower.
5. Then add ⅓ cup chopped onion, ½ inch ginger (chopped), 1 to 2 green chilies (chopped), 8 to 10 curry leaves (chopped) and 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves. Also, add salt as required.
6. Mix very well.
7. Shape the mixture into vadas or patties.
Frying vazhaipoo vadai
8. Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai. You can use any neutral flavored oil.
Check a small piece of vada in the oil. If it comes up gradually and steadily, then the oil is hot enough. Gently place the vadas in the hot oil. Fry on medium flame.
9. Add as many vadas as depending on the size of kadai. Do not overcrowd kadai.
10. When one side is golden and crisp, turn over and fry the second side. Then fry the second side till golden. Turn over a couple of times if you want.
11. Once they become golden, remove them with a slotted spoon draining extra oil in the kadai itself.
12. Place them on kitchen paper towels to absorb extra oil. This way fry the remaining vadai.
Serve vazhaipoo vadai hot or warm with coconut chutney or any sauce or dip of your choice.
More tasty Indian snacks recipes
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Vazhaipoo Vadai | Banana Flower Recipe
- ½ cup chana dal (bengal gram)
- enough water for soaking chana dal
- ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped banana flower
- 1 inch cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fennel
- ¼ teaspoon whole black pepper
- 1 medium onion – chopped or ⅓ cup chopped onion or 50 to 60 grams onion
- ½ inch ginger – chopped
- 1 to 2 green chilies – chopped
- 8 to 10 curry leaves – chopped
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- salt as required
- oil for deep frying, as required
making vada mixture
- Rinse a couple of times and then soak chana dal in enough water for 2 hours. Then drain all the water very well.
- Take the chana dal in a grinder jar. Add 1 inch cinnamon, ½ teaspoon fennel and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- Grind to a semi fine paste.
- Take the ground chana dal paste in a mixing bowl. Add ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped banana flower.
- Then add ⅓ cup chopped onion, ½ inch ginger (chopped), 1 to 2 green chilies (chopped), 8 to 10 curry leaves (chopped) and 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves. Also add salt as required.
- Mix very well.
- Shape into vadas or patties.
frying vazhaipoo vadai
- Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai.
- Check a small piece of vada in the oil. If it comes up gradually and steadily, then the oil is hot enough. Gently place the vadas in the hot oil.
- Fry on medium flame till they are crisp and golden.
- Once the vadai becomes golden, then remove with a slotted spoon.
- Place them on kitchen paper towels. This way fry the remaining vadas.
- Serve vazhaipoo vadai hot or warm with coconut chutney or any sauce or dip of your choice.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Banana Flower Recipe post from the archives first published in November 2017 has been updated and republished on January 2023.