Vazhai thandu/ banana stem has a lot of medicinal value. The juice of the banana stem is used to cure kidney stones and it helps to reduce weight. The stem is used in many tamil dishes like kootu, pachadi and poriyal. It has a lot of fibres and so cutting the stem involves removing the fibres also. This post will give you step wise instructions on preparing vazhai thandu for cooking.
This is the stem of banana tree. Once the tree gives fruits, the whole tree is removed. While removing, the stem is cut off and the inner portion is used for cooking.
You can see two layers surrounding the main stem. It also has a lot of fibres.
With a sharp knife cut the outer covering and remove it.
The next covering is usually stuck to the stem and so it has to be peeled with a knife.
Slice it into thin circles. While slicing, the fibres will hold the two pieces together.
Remove the fibres by twisting it with your fore finger.
Remove it from the slice also.
Then cut the roundels into small cubes. There are still small fibres left and there is another step to remove the fibres before cooking.
In a bowl take water and add a ladle full of butter milk. Drop the cut stem into it. This helps to avoid blackening of the stem. With a long iron rod (we call it sinukkari) and rotate it in circular motion with in the water.
The fibres will get stuck to the rod. repeat it until the rod comes out clean. Drain water and use the cut stem pieces for cooking.