Plantain Peel Curry ~ Bangladeshi recipe with Gauri Karmakar

by on September 15, 2014

This recipe of plantain peel curry is from the villages of Bangladesh, says Smt. Gauri Karmakar, a great granny from Kolkata. Known as Kanchkolar Khoshar Ghonto in that region, it is a phrase that took me a little time to decode and get used to. As Gauriji explained, kanchkolar means raw plantains, khoshar refers to peel, and ghonto is side-dish in Bengali. Once I documented the recipe, it still took quite a few emails, text messages and telephone calls from me to her grand-daughter to Gauriji and back to me to figure out the exact way to peel the raw plantains and then cook the peels! This shared enthusiasm makes this recipe all the more special for me.

 

Vegetarian Recipes

Ingredients for Plantain Peel Curry:

  • Raw plantains – 5-6 (only peels are needed)
  • Potatoes – 2
  • Bay leaves – 7-8
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Sugar – 1-2 teaspoons
  • Salt – to taste
  • Garam masala – a pinch
  • Oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Ghee – 1-2 teaspoons

For the paste:

  • Onions – 1 large, chopped
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic – 2-4 cloves
  • Green chillies – 2-3

Method for cooking the peels:

  1. With a sharp knife, chop the two ends of the raw plantains and discard them. Now chop the plantains into 2-3 chunks horizontally. If there are any dark spots or blemishes on the plantains, chop and discard them. Now chop away the peels along with some flesh of the raw plantains and and immediately drop the chopped peels into a vessel of water. This is to avoid any discolouration. (The remaining plantain flesh can be used in some other preparations such as parathas or koftas.)
  2. Cook the chopped plantain peels in a pan of water along with a pinch of salt for 20-30 minutes. Switch off the flame, drain the water and discard any fibrous layer on top of the peels. Mash the peels roughly with a masher or by hand.

Method for making the Plantain Peel Curry:

  1. Peel the potatoes and chop into bite-sized bits.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and shallow fry the chopped potatoes until they turn tender. Remove from flame and set aside.
  3. Grind the onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies along with very little water into a fine paste.
  4. In another pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the cumin seeds and bay leaves. Now add the paste and sauté for 4-5 minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  5. Add the turmeric powder, sugar and salt and mix well. Now add the cooked potatoes and raw banana peels. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked potatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the garam masala and ghee, mix well and remove from fire. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve the Plantain Peel Curry with rotis or steamed rice and dal.
Tip 1: Smear a little oil on your palms before chopping the plantains since the juice tends to make the palms sticky. You can also drop the chopped peels and flesh of plantains into a vessel containing diluted buttermilk to avoid discoloration.
Tip 2: Gauriji says that you can add roasted cashews and raisins in this curry for a richer flavour.
Tip 3: You can pressure-cook the peels for up to 2 whistles.

 

This recipe was first published in The Great Granny Diaries – a column in Harmony Magazine. Part-1 of this post is the interview with Gauri Karmakar, a Bangladeshi great-granny from Kolkata.

 

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