Saturday, October 13, 2018

Kashundi Narkol Mocha -- Banana Blossoms with Kashundi and Coconut

Last week my Mother, who was visiting us over summer, left for India. Just before she left, I brought home a mocha as I wanted to practically see how it is prepped. Yes, I had never chopped a Mocha before this. Blasphemy!

Mocha in Hawaii

Mocha, banana blossoms is a favorite vegetable in Bengal. In fact in Bengal, a banana plant is much revered. During DurgaPujo, she is the designated wife of Ganesha and lovingly addressed as "KolaBou". The raw banana is another favorite in Bengali cuisine and kaachakolar kofta is high up in culinary ladders jostling with the likes of kosha mangsho. The tender core of the banana stems, the apparent trunk, is another nutritious vegetable favorite in Bengali cuisine. It is is called "Thor", not the Nordic God, but as impressive.The flowers of the Banana tree, Mocha, often served as Mochar Ghonto or Mochar Chop represent the very pinnacle of niramish Bengali ranna.

I had always shied away from cooking Mocha as I thought the chopping would be a difficult task. You see, chopping Mocha (banana blossom) in the seclusion of your own home, in isolation does not make sense. It needs a community to efficiently peel, remove stamen, and chop Mocha with efficiency and speed.

After this effort, I have realized that chopping 1 or 2 mocha is not that big of a hurdle and that amount of blossoms is enough to serve a family of 4. So take heart and go ahead.

I initially wanted to make Mochar Ghonto but I love some of those "kaala chana" in my mocha and I didn't have those. So I decided to make shorshe narkol mocha but was too lazy to grind the shorshe aka mustard paste. So use the bottle of Kashundi instead.



#howtoprepamochafromMyMa



It is time for my Mother to leave for India and now I realize that I haven't done any of the things I had planned to do with her.
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I did not jot down recipes or make videos of her cooking.
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Instead I just ate the variety of food she cooked without thinking of a recipe, cooked for her, sat down with her every evening drinking copious amounts of tea, joined her in her hangout with her friends(my neighbors) ,watched movies and saregamapa on Zee Bangla with her, took a vacation together, argued, disagreed and restrained myself from interfering when she spoiled my daughters๐Ÿ˜œ
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And then I panicked!! Hey where are those videos I wanted to shoot? Where are the step by step photos of recipes?
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My mom balked at me "Oi shob ami parbo na"( I am not doing any of those things).
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Really Ma? You can cook kochuri for your granddaughters and not tell me how much turmeric you put in your Maacher Jhol? You know how important it is to measure a piece of ginger before you chop!!
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My mom rolled her eyes ๐Ÿ™„ and walked away.
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The only thing I achieved is getting her to demo -- HOW TO PREP A MOCHA ( Banana Blossoms )
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This I needed for myself. Or Lord help me, if I ever buy a pretty looking #bananablossom and know nothing to do with it except put it in a vase or shove it up somewhere!!!
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So here's the one and only video of my Mom instructing on #howtoprepmocha.
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Statuatory Warning: Wear one of those plastic gloves unlike her and make sure you have lots of time to spare. ๐Ÿ˜…





Kashundi Narkol Mocha -- Banana Blossoms

First, search for your favorite show or interesting movie on Netflix. Given your interests, this might take days. There are days when I do nothing but just search Netflix so...

Once you have settled on the movie, go to your Indian store and look for a purple hued conical object, which is Mocha aka Banana Blossom.

Back home, make yourself a cup of tea, roll out a newspaper, place chopping board on that paper and turn on the movie/show previously selected on Netflix.

If you have manicured hands, then wear those plastic gloves before chopping Mocha

Now follow the video to chop the banana blossoms. Kuchi-Kuchi chop is the way to go.



Soak the chopped blossoms in water with little turmeric powder and salt.

After 2 hrs, drain the water and steam the blossoms. In a pressure cooker it takes 2 whistles.

While the Mocha is cooking, chop 1 large potato in small cubes

If you have frozen grated coconut, defrost it and pulse it further in your food processor until it is finely grated. If you have fresh coconut grate it whichever way you wish.

Now heat Mustard Oil to smoking

Temper the oil with
1 Bay Leaf
2 small cardamom
1/4th tsp of Cumin Seeds
2 dry Red Chilies

Add the potatoes. Sprinkle some turmeric powder and fry the potatoes until golden.

Next add the steamed banana blossoms and saute for 3-4 minutes

Add the
grated coconut,
1 tbsp of Kashundi,
2 Green Chili
Mix well.
Saute for 4-5 minutes.

Add little salt. Kashundi will have some salt so be careful.

Now add 1 tsp of grated ginger, a splash of water, cover and let the potatoes cook.

Remove the cover intermittently to check that all vegetables are cooked.

Adjust salt and sugar according to taste

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