This post was first published in2011, re-published again with fresh content, photographs and slight change in the recipe.
What is Banana Blossom / Flower Cutlets (croquettes)?
Banana Blossom (Flower) Cutlets/ croquettes or Bengali Mochar Chop holds an almost cult status in Bengali cuisine. A relic of gift from colonial past, a delicacy that is meant for all kinds of small and big celebrations. Banana blossom or mocha itself holds a very special stature in Bengali cuisine, and considered as very adventurous and gastronomically exciting. And not just cutlets, Bengali cuisine has lots of age old traditional recipes that uses the flowers of banana in most exciting ways.
You might also like our Classic Bengali Mochar Ghonto / Stir fried Banana flowers with coconut.
Have you ever tried making the banana stem / bract boats?
As I was gently removing the outer bracts to extract the inner flowers, moments slowly drifted me towards my childhood days.
We used to make boats out of its rich purplish leaves or bracts. And after a heavy downpour, when the small dried streams comes alive with full force, our boats streamed along its way to some unknown destinations.
Sometimes by using its fibers, we would made sail boats apparently for a longer journey or even trade boats. I know that sounds little strange, but such were the fanciful ways of childhood days. Whatever we found in our daily hiking in the woods, be it a rare wild flower, or wild berries, some colored barks of a tree, beautiful pebbles, pine cones, tamarind and wild gooseberries, all formed a part of that little trade. And growing up in a beautiful hilly town strewn with eucalyptus, pines and teak would meant that our pockets would always be filled with those little treasures.
As I am writing this post, my mind re-lives those blissful moments of childhood days once again.
Culinary adventures with banana flowers is both exciting and tedious at times, mainly because of the preparation work it needs.
You might also like our Banana Flowers With Shrimp / Chingri diye mochar ghonto, an eternal Bengali classic recipe.
What to remove from the banana blossoms:
Beneath every bracts of banana blossoms lies the ordered rows of yellow-tipped small florets, which looks highly appealing. You have to remove the pinkish inedible hard fiber like small petals or casing at the stem base. And the hard stigma from each florets as shown in the photo.
What to do with the innermost conical part of banana blossom:
While doing so a stage will be reached when it is no longer possible to peel off the blossoms, chop off the innermost conical part and use it in your recipe.
How to remove the bitterness of banana blossom / flower/ mocha:
Boil the banana blossom in water which has a healthy volume of lemon juice or tamarind extract in it. Most of the chefs boil it in diluted milk to make it more soft (as told to me by one of the budding professional chef)
How to make Bengali mochar chop / banana flower cutlets ?
After the prep work is done, banana flowers are first stir fired with spices and peanuts. You may add grated coconut too. The mixture is then ready for stuffing.
Banana flower cutlets can be made in two ways – first process where stir fired banana flowers are mixed with mashed potatoes and then crumb coated and deep fried. This is by far the easiest way to make and hassle free too.
Second way, which I prefer is to make the cutlets, the French croquette way. That is stuffing the stir fried banana flowers in mashed potato shell, giving them the croquette shape, crumb coated and then deep fried.
This way of making the banana flower croquette or mochar chop taste better as you get to taste and enjoy the full flavour of the banana flowers undiluted. The crispness of the potato and crumb coating delightfully matches with the soft and exotic taste of banana blossoms.
What to serve with Bengali mochar chop / banana blossom cutlets?
Arguably the best partner or the unbeatable accompaniment of chops and cutlets in Bengali cuisine is the piquant mustard sauce, also known as Kasundi. Chop and cutlets are usually served with a dollop of kasundi and slices of cucumbers and onion rings. Also sometimes the matchstick cuts of beetroots are the usual suspects to serve in a appetizer platter.
Here is how to make an Instant Mango Mustard Sauce / Bengali Aam Kasundi (non-fermented version).
- 1 Flower of Banana or (Mocha in Bengali)
- 3 Potatoes, mashed big
- 3 Green chilies, chopped
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 2 Cardamoms
- 1/2 cup Scraped Coconut
- 1/4 cup Peanuts
- 2 tbsp Raisins
- 1 tsp Roasted Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Ginger, chopped:
- 1 tsp Garam masala
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- Salt to taste
- Flour slurry (made with flour and water)
- 1/2 cup A mix of cornflour and breadcrumbs
- Oil for deep-frying
- Collect the florets of the flower, tear out the middle stem (stigma) of the florets and finely chopped the florets in batches.
- Boil the florets in water with lemon juice or tamarind extract or try it with milk for 10 minutes. Strain the florets in a strainer and discard the water, squeeze extra water out of it by hard pressing, it will become pulpy. Keep it aside.
Heat some oil in a pan and temper it with cumin seeds. Add the chopped banana florets and saute for sometime. Next add the peanuts or grated coconut along with cumin powder, garam masala, ginger, raisins, salt and sugar to taste. Lightly stir fry for few more minutes and remove from the heat.
- Mashed thoroughly the potatoes and mix it with salt and finely chopped green chillies. Divide it into six portions, flatten them like patties and give a bowl like shape.
Filled the bowl of mashed potatoes with stir fried banana blossom in the center and wrap it along so that the banana flowers is well secured inside it .
Give them your desired shapes like cutlets or croquettes and keep aside for 5 minute.
Prepare a slurry of flour and water. Dip each of the croquette in flour slurry, then roll them over in a mixture of cornflour and breadcrumbs. Keep aside.
Repeat this steps with each of the croquette.
Refrigerate the croquette for 20 minute. It will help to bind the crumb coating well.
I preferably do double coating. For this take out the refrigerated croquettes and once again dip them in flour slurry and then crum coated with bread crumbs. Keep aside for 15 minute.
Deep fry each of the mochar chop / banana flower cutlets till golden brown on all sides.
- Serve the hot mochar chop / banana blossom appetizer with kasundi (Bengali mustard sauce) or any sauce of your choice.
Oil your palms well, specially the finger tips and nails, otherwise the sap or juicy extract from the blossoms will blacken the fingers , the black marks will eventually disappear in 2-3 days.
Oil the knife too if you are chopping the florets for the same reason stated above.
After removing the florets, directly put them in a bowl of water as they are quick to oxidize.