Vazhai Poo Usli & Mor Kozhambu

Our lovely blogger buddy Kanchan is celebrating her birthday today! Let us all wish her a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY, with long-lasting happiness for years to come!
Happy Birthday dear!

Picture Courtesy:

I believe I have told you all before in one of my earlier posts, that I used to be a very rebellious and fussy eater in my childhood (actually till I entered college!) Mom had a tough time with me always because I had a finicky taste and my preferences were limited to rasam, vendakkai poriyal (Okra Stir-fry), Dosa and Maggi! Almost every second day the lunch box will come back home as it was packed.

I don't remember when and how I became a foodie; probably during my college days, where my 3 best friends were those foodie types and they influenced my eating habits a lot. Thanks to them, here I am trying out new and traditional recipes each day and blogging about them! Mom would have never had even in her faintest idea that one day her daughter would become a FOOD BLOGGER (of all the other things!!!)

Usli - probably one of the most tried recipes that would be blogged over and over! Because no matter how many times we read about it, blog it or share it, every time Usli tastes as heavenly as the first time! More than the Usli itself, it is the Vazhai poo that fascinates me. I still remember those beautiful full moon nights, we all would go to the terrace and mom prepares the mixed rice, probably sambar or kozhambu (which otherwise is in the "untouchable" list for me)and serve it in the "Vazhai poo Madal" i.e the leaves of Banana flower, which she had reserved for me.

Before I get too nostalgic, let's go to our recipe!

Vazhai Poo Usli
Chana Dal and Banana flowers cooked with mild spices

What we need:
Vazhai Poo - 1, medium sized
Chana Dal / Kadalai Paruppu - 1 cup
Red Chillies - 3 to 4, according to your palates
Curry leaves - a sprig
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - according to your taste

For tempering:
Oil - 1 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tsp.
Split Urad dal - 1 tsp.

We also need:
A cup of buttermilk to soak the cut vazhai poo. This eliminates the "tuvarpu" taste of the vazhai poo.

Preparing for the Usli:
Wash, clean and soak the Chana dal along with some red chillies for about an hour.

Meanwhile, switch on the TV or start a movie in your laptop and sit down with a bowl of buttermilk, little salt or oil, and the vazhai poo. It is a loooong process to cut and clean this flower. Apply a little oil or rub your hands with little salt because later you don't want to look like a mechanic who repairs the car!
Make sure you remove the "Kalan", inside every flower. It resembles a Match stick head. Also remove a fine glass-like layer inside the flower. Cut the flowers into small pieces and soak them in the buttermilk for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Chitra has given the clear picture of how the "Kalan" looks. Please click here to see her recipe.

How to do:
1. Grind the chana dal to a coarse paste along with the red chilli, salt, asafoetida and little or no water.
2. Mix it with the chopped flowers and spread the mix over a steel plate or the idlis plate creased with oil, and steam it for about 8 to 10 minutes. Let it cool and crumble it to coarse pieces.
3. Heat oil and add the mustard, followed by split urad dal and curry leaves. When they are done, add the dal-flower and mix well.
4. Adjust the salt according to your taste and remove from the flame.

Mor Kozhambu
Yoghurt soup simmered with coconut

What we need:
Thick yoghurt/curd - 2 cups
Fresh grated Coconut - 3 tbsp.
Chana Dal - 2 tbsp. Reserve some chana dal you soak for the usli.
Cumin (Jeera) - 1 tbsp.
Red/Green Chillies - 2
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Asafoetida - 1 tsp.
Salt - according to your taste

For tempering:
Coconut Oil/Cooking oil - 1 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tbsp.
Curry leaves - a sprig

How to do:
1. Grind together the grated coconut, chana dal, green/red chillies, cumin.
2. Mix this ground paste with yoghurt, along with a pinch of turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt. Add water to achieve your desired consistency.
3. Heat coconut oil and add the mustard, followed by curry leaves. When they are done, reduce the flame to low-medium and add the yoghurt mix.
4. Stir well. It may start to splatter in a few minutes, that is when you need to remove it from the flame.

1. Coconut Oil enhances the flavor of the Mor Kozhambu by many folds. Inspite of using it for tempering, I also add a generous amount of coconut oil to the mor kozhambu after removing it from stove, and leave it undisturbed till serving time. It smells and tastes so good.
2. For those who don't have an aversion to Asafoetida, sprinkle it generously over the kozhambu and leave it undisturbed till you serve.
3. If you have some banana leaves to spare, cover the vessel tightly with the leaf and keep a lid over it. It increases the flavor and makes your Mor Kozhambu a sure hit!
4. To make a simple, instant mor kozhambu, please click here.

Serve together Usli and Mor Kozhambu with piping hot steamed rice drizzled with sesame oil!

Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging


Chitra said...

WOw, i love this usili a lot and that too with morkuzhambu,divine combi :)

Kanchan said...

Wow!! Banana Flower ki sabzi .... hats off to u maam !!!
The cleaning is so cumbersome I haven't really thought of preparing it yet :(

Preeti Kashyap said...

delectable combo....i have never tried paruppu usuli with vazhai poo (too lazy to clean the flower) but make usually with green beans and carrot. Pictures look awesome!even my mom says "of all the things u became a food blogger? You used to refuse to even make coffee for me at one time!"hahahaha.....

Sanjana said...

Fab recipe, Rohini! Keep up the good work!

Nithya said...

I love this too.. I am a crazy fan of usili :)

Its really sweet of u to wish Kanchan in your blog :)

Padhu Sankar said...

I love plantain flower usili and can have it any time of the day even without any accompaniment.Mor Kuzhambu with usili is a great combination.Just love it!

prasu said...

Love this combo dear..........lovely pics. usli and Mor Kuzhambu looks so delicious dear.....And my wishes to Kanchan.

SE said...

very inviting recipes, Rohini!!..and hats off to you for patience in cleaning the banana flower..after reading your post..Im thinking to give it a try...

Vrinda said...

Nice recipe..v usually make thoran with banana flower..thanx for sharing Rohini..

Vidya Rao said...

Perfect combination! Both the dishes look so authentic and super click!

Unknown said...

Both recipes looks delicious and never tried banana flower..My all time fav Mor Kuzhambu..:)B'day wishes to kanchan.

Unknown said...

This is one of my all time favorite combination. Looks delicious.

Priya Suresh said...

Usili and more kuzhambu together makes me hungry ROhini...

Ambika said...

Hey Rohini, that indeed is a delectable combo, I love it! I love paruppu usli with rasam, or just like to mix it with rice and ghee and slurp! You get vazhai poo in switzerland?? Nice..

Namitha said...

Lovely combi..I love the presentation...nice clicks too :-)

San!!! said...

Neat presentation and appealing combo.

Anupama said...

Ahaaa... anything with vaazhaippoo has become a lost dish for me as I don't get it here in the US.. what a perfect combo!!!

Sushma Mallya said...

Nicely presented rohini...Really very sweet of you to remember kanchan's bday and reminding us too...will wish her on her blog...

Anonymous said...

very neat presentation..and is there anything to beat the morkuzhmabu usili combo? sathyama illa..wishing kanchan a super duper bday

pria said...

looks grt , i too hav a different version on Vazhapo in my space

Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

My mom used to make a similar sabzi with plantain flowers-I used to love it! Not sure if I can get that here,but I definitely will give the kozhambu(I can never pronounce it correctly) a try :)

Dhanya Ganesh said...

Wow..Interesting recipe. Looks delicious,will give it a try.

Raje said...

Yummy recipes Rohini! The Usli looks fabulous!

swarna said...

Great dishes and lovely presentation..good work dear.

Simi Tresa Antony said...

What a yummo Presentation!!!..
Great blog following!!!

Raks said...

I too love paruppu usili with banana flower and it makes a perfect combo with more kuzhambu!

Jeyashris Kitchen said...

we all r big fan of usili.My mil makes it in a very nice way. i learnt from her.The presentation part also looks nice.

Kanchan said...

WOW !!! BIG BIG Thank you !!!!
just mailed you :)

Unknown said...

beautifully presented..

kitchen queen said...

Mor kuzhambu and parupu usli make a good combination usually ur both items r yummy and delicious.

kitchen queen said...

Rohini I have sorted out the problem which u all were facing in commenting in my blog.You r always welcome in my blog to comment and thanks once again.

lata raja said...

Excellently presented delicious recipe.

Sree vidya said...

Can't agree more.
My most favouritest :)
For that matter, I love all brahmin food varieties. That's our comfort food, any day.
Paruppu usili made with vazhapoo is the queen of usili(s)

sangeeta said...

first time here n loved your blog....the pepper curry n this banana flower stirfry are special....