Aratikaya, raw banana or plantain is a staple in almost every Telugu household. In fact, there are a lot of raw banana recipes from South India. Banana plants are found in every other household. The application and recipes differ from state to state however. Like my MIL prepares a super simply Raw Plantain Fry (Vazhakkai Varuval), that is delicious with Sambar or Rasam as a side with rice. My mom does prepare a fry too but that recipe is nowhere near the one my MIL uses. I think that is beauty of Indian cooking – same ingredients, different recipes. I am lucky to be enjoying the best of different styles, through my mom and MIL.
Today’s recipe is a family recipe of ours. While raw banana fry is liked by one and all, this recipe is of a Koora – a simple stir-fry. In South Indian cooking, a poriyal or koora is made with much lesser oil and there is always a tempering with mustard and cumin seeds. Additionally, fresh curry leaves are added along with green chillies for the heat. That’s it. No more spices or powders are used. Simplicity at its best really.
Frankly, I was not a big fan of this Aratikaya Koora growing up. I preferred crispy made raw banana fry always. However, my Mammagaru (my paternal grandma) was all things traditional. At times she would request Amma to make this Aratikaya Upma Koora – such an unusual name isn’t it?! Very simple explanation – just like upma, this stir fry is prepared similarly but by mashing the vegetable. A much similar preparation can be made from potatoes too. The most important ingredient for this recipe is fresh ginger – makes this dish what it is.
To make Aratikaya Koora | Andhra Style Raw Banana Stir-Fry
What I used –
- Raw Banana/Plantain, 1 large
- Green Chillies, 1 or 2
- Fresh Chopped Ginger, 1 tsp
- Mustard Seeds, ½ tsp
- Cumin Seeds, ½ tsp
- Urad Dal, 1 tsp
- Chana Dal, 1 tsp
- Curry Leaves, a few
- Turmeric Powder, ½ tsp
- Oil, 1 tsp
- Salt, as needed
- Lemon Juice, 2 tsp (optional)
How I made –
1. Cut the ends of the raw banana and put it in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at high for 4-5 mins until the skin darkens and the vegetable looks cooked. Insert a knife/toothpick to check if the plantain s cooked. Let it rest for 5 mins. Cut open the skin and chop the raw banana into small cubes.
2. In a nonstick pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and chana dal. As mustard seeds begin to pop, the dad should turn golden brown. Add finely chopped ginger and cut green chillies along with washed curry leaves. Fry for 10-20 secs. Add chopped raw banana pieces.
3. Add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well and stir fry for 3-4 mins. Gently mash a few pieces of raw banana and keep cooking for another 5 mins until everything comes together. Keep in mind that the plantain should not be completely mashed. Switch off the heat.
4. Add fresh lemon juice (if adding) and serve hot with rice.
- Raw banana can be cooked on stove top as well. Either pressure cook on high flame for one whistle with little water or cook in a vessel with water filled to half. With both these methods, don’t cut off the edges. This would help keep the plantain from going very soggy.
- Remove the ends of the plantain before microwaving. As we don’t add water or oil, it is better to cut the edges to avoid any mishap.
- The plantain has to be cooked just right – not too raw or too mushy.
- Lemon juice has to added after the vegetable is taken off the heat, so that it doesn’t turn bitter.
- Adjust the amount of ginger and green chillies as per spice preference.