Saturday, August 15, 2009
This chammandi or chutney is made with vaazha pindi, that is the inner core of a banana tree.
The banana tree is one of the most versatile plants known to Keralites, second only to the beloved Coconut palms. We use the leaves in lieu of plates, to bake fish, make Adas(a sweet preparation), as disposable lunch packs ....
The raw bananas are ingredients in many delicious preparations like aviyal, kaalan, different mezhukku puratties and the banana chips are famous all over the world.
We also use the purple flowers to make many dishes. The tiny flowers nestled in between the purple petals yield lovely drops of nectar.
Ripe golden bananas are used to make amazing things like pazham pori, unniyappam, pradhamans etc and we all love them on anything from topping on cereals to banana splits..
And finally, even when a banana tree is cut down to make room for the young ones, they yield the smooth, ivory-like cores called 'pindi'. I have had pindi in many forms.. and though it is a bit tedious to clean, it is worth the effort. This chutney is a tasty addition to the numerous recipes we already have, and was passed on to me by Jayachitta, my dad's youngest sister, who is a superb cook.
Pindi - a piece about 6 -8 inches
Cut into rounds,about 1/2 cm thick, clean each side and remove the fibers, keep aside three pieces and chop up the rest.
Boil the three round pieces and keep aside to cool.
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Urad dal - 1 tbs (dry roast)
Dried red chillies - 2 to 3
Curry leaves - 2 stalks
Green chillies - 2
Ginger - a very small piece (about 1 cm cube)
Tamarind - a small piece
Salt to taste
In a blender, add all the ingredients, including the pindi and grind till the chutney is half-way between coarse and fine . Mix well till the taste is even. Very tasty side-dish for gruel or kanji.