Monday, May 2, 2011

Banana Flower Delight (Mochar Ghonto)

 In my previous post I had mentioned that my next post will be 'Mochar Ghonto' or 'Banana Flower Delight' as I like to call it.

The banana flower (see the photo above) in Bengali is called Mocha— you pronounce ch as in chap and not as in character. My mum loves variety so when she tires of the usual vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and so on, she heads for the vegetable market to look for vegetables like the banana flower. Mochar means Mocha's or banana flower's and Ghonto is what the preparation is called.

Before I proceed with mum's Mochar Ghonto it is important to learn how to chop the banana flower. 

 To begin with you have to purchase the right flower. When you peel off one of the petals or bracts as they are called (as shown in photo above) you will find a bunch of  infant flowers (see the photo above).  

These infant flowers should be white as shown in the photos above and below.  
If it is black as shown above do not purchase it. 

As each red petal or bract is removed you will find clusters of infant flowers. Open up each of the infant flowers.  

 You will find a stiff stick like thing along with a white hard petal like object.(See photo above).
 Discard these two parts of the flower (photo above). They cannot be consumed.

Before chopping the infant flowers chop the bottom portion and discard.(As shown in photos above and below.   

 As  you keep removing the petals a stage will come when you will not be able to remove it any further. The picture above shows the inner tender white portion of the banana flower, it is not possible to remove the petals from this tender white portion. 

 Chop this white portion as shown above  along with the other infant flowers.

When you chop and clean the flower your fingers will turn black due to the sap which leaks from the flower. To avoid this dip your fingers in a bowl of salt water as you chop and clean.

  • One banana flower.
  • A pinch of cumin seeds.
  • A little ginger paste.
  • A pinch of turmeric powder.
  • Coriander and Cumin powder mix (Please use your judgment when deciding on the quantity).
  • Kashmiri Chilli powder.
  • Salt and Sugar to taste.
  • Grated Coconut.
  • Cinnamon stick, green cardamom and cloves.
  • Boil the banana flower and drain out the water.
  • Heat a little oil in a kadhai (wok). Use your judgment while deciding on the quantity of oil; it depends on the quantity of the flower.
  • Take a pinch of cumin seeds and add to the oil.
  • Once the seeds begin to splutter add the boiled banana flower, a pinch of turmeric powder, a little ginger paste, coriander and cumin powder mix.
  • Add red chilli powder but take care not to add too much for it will mar the flavour of the flower. Alternatively you may take a whole red dry Kashmiri chilli and add it right at the beginning along with the cumin seeds.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Stir well, so that the masalas (spices) and banana flower blend well.
  • Now pour a little water (take care while pouring water for this is a dry preparation).
  • When it boils add a bit of sugar for taste and stir well till the water evaporates.
  • Just before removing the wok from the flame, dry grind a small piece of cinnamon, one green cardamom, and two cloves. Add this powder to the banana flower and stir well.
  • Pour out in a serving dish.  Add a bit of pure ghee (clarified butter). This is optional of course if you do not mind the extra calories.
  • Garnish with grated coconut.
  • Along with the coconut garnish the small boris which I mentioned in my previous post is also deep fried, crushed and sprinkled on the dish. It lends the dish a nice crunchy flavour, however you can do without the coconut and bori garnish.
The quantity of the spices has not been specified as it depends on the quantity of the banana flower. The banana flower is sold per piece and not per kilo. The final quantity will depend on the size of the banana flower.Take care not to use too much of spices as the spices can mask the inherent flavour of the flower.

Sending this to Flavors of Bengal event by Priya started by Nayna

Sending this to SchmetterlingWords:Healthy Morsels- Pregnancy for its obvious nutritional content.



  1. Mmm. This sounds lovely, though I would never have the patience needed to do all the preparation. I remember, back in 2000, one of my colleagues was a Bengali and would bring mocha sometimes for lunch. The first time, the rest of us (having finished off every scrap of her lunch!) asked her if she had made it, and she explained briefly how the banana flower has to be cleaned and prepared. "Only my mother has the patience for it!" she said. Your post was the first time I've actually seen it done - and I am all admiration for you and your mum. What patience, indeed!

  2. Welcome back missed you a lot and hope everything is going fine!
    Delicious Mochar ghonto and the best part of this post is that you show how to handle the raw veggie that I think is the toughest part!

  3. @dustedoff:Yes you are right only mothers have the patience but once done it is very tasty and my mum thank God has lots of patience. Had some problem with the internet connection.

  4. What a delicious recipe! I really like the detailed explanations on how to prepare the mochar and the result look yummy!
    US Masala

  5. Mochar ghonto looks awesome. Thanks for visiting my blog and it is always a pleasure to follw you. Tomar baki posts especially Kali Barir photo dekhe Delhi thakar shomoy mone pore galo. Great preparation.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  6. Liebe Shilpi,

    danke für deine Aufmerksamkeit. Das war sehr Lieb von dir. Ich war krank und habe zu Hause ausgeruhen. Jetzt habe ich mich gut erholt und wieder auf der Bahn :-)

    Dein(e) Mochar Ghonto sieht sehr lecker aus. Deine Schritt für Schritt Erklärung ist beeindruckend. Auch in deinem letzten Post, alle Süßigkeiten haben mein Herz erobert. Ich habe Bengali Süßigkeiten nie gekostet und jetzt möchte ich gerne schmecken, aber wie? :-( Vielleicht nächtes Mal beim Indien Besuch muss ich nach Bengali Sweets suchen.

    Ich hoffe, deine Arme sind vollig wieder fit jetzt. :-)

    Bis dann. Liebe Grüße!!

  7. Nice pictorial .. I love banana flower ..
    Following you ..

    Drop by my space when you get a chance and hope you would follow me too :)


  8. This is lovely. We have these in Kerala ( we call them Koombu) My mum used to make koombu curries for lunch.

    How are you Shilpi ?

  9. @Ash: Great to have you back Ash, I am fine, hope you are fine too.

  10. Aaahh, das ist mein Lieblingsgericht.

    Danke Shilpi für die Teilnahme in Healthy Morsels - Pregnancy :)

  11. wow!step by step pictures.simply superb.