Banana blossom or mocha (in Bengali an East Indian language) holds a special stature in Bengali cuisine, and consider as very adventurous and gastronomically exciting. I was never a huge fan of banana blossom or mocha as we love to call it in my growing up years though we had some banana plants in our backyard, but in recent years I developed a strong fascination for it.
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 fibres, we made sail boats apparently for a longer journey or even trade boats. I know that sounds little strange, but such are the 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 meant pockets were always filled with those little treasures.
As I am writing this post, my mind re-lives those blissful moments of childhood days once again.
Coming back to the banana blossom appetizer or mochar chop, I have arrived at this recipe (recipe courtesy: one of my friend who is a chef) after some trial and errors and found this works best for me.
What to remove from the banana blossoms:
Beneath every bracts lies the ordered rows of yellow-tipped small florets, which looks highly appealing. Remove the pinkish inedible hard fibre like small petals or casing at the stem base and the hard stigma from each florets as shown in the photo.
The innermost conical part: 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 or make fritters with it as I did here.
To remove the bitterness of mocha:
Boil the mocha or 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)
- Flower of Banana (or Mocha): One
- Potatoes (mashed): 3 big sized
- Green chilies (chopped):4-5
- Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
- Cardamoms: 2-3
- Scraped Coconut and peanuts: ½ cup
- Cumin powder: 1 tsp
- Ginger (chopped):1tsp
- Garam masala: 1 tsp
- Sugar : ½ tsp
- Salt to taste
- A mix of cornflour and breadcrumbs: ½ cup
- 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 mocha or banana florets and saute for sometime. Next add the peanuts or grated coconut along with cumin powder, garam masala, ginger, 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 mocha or banana blossom in the centre and wrap it along so that the mocha is well secured inside it .
- Give them your desired shapes and dust each of the mochar chop / cutlet with cornflour and breadcrumbs mix, deep fry them in sufficient oil till they become golden brown in color.
- Serve the hot mochar chop / banana blossom appetizer with kasundi (Bengali mustard sauce) or any sauce of your choice.
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.
If you like this recipe then please consider sharing it and do not forget to send me your feedbacks.