The Indian festive season is over. We are back to eating light, but balanced meal. I make sure that my family gets atleast one kind of vegetable to eat every day. And I love sticking to traditions. Traditional Bengali cooking advocates the “root to stem” style of cooking, reducing food wastage by utilising almost every part of the plant. This time, I bought some fresh banana stems, which are even available in Mumbai with local vegetable sellers. The “Thorh” or “Thor” is the Bengali name given to banana stems, which are highly nutritious. Thorh is sold as the cylindrical, white part of the stem of a banana plant. We have to be careful while choosing the stem, as only freshly cut Thorh or banana stems will make a good Bengali Thorh dish. Any banana-stem dish or Thor dish cooked in Bengali way is superb. This tried and tested Bengali Niramish Thorer Ghonto Recipe is a delicacy for sure. This Bengali recipe of Thor Ghonto is Niramish or completely vegetarian.
How to Clean and Prep Banana Stem or Thorh
Once you choose a young banana stem, you have to remove the outer two (or even three) covers and work with only the soft white part inside. Then, chop off a thin layer of the top and bottom parts of a banana stem. Finally, cut out thin discs of the stem. Here lies the trick: as you cut the discs, you will get a lot of “threads” in the process, which are undesirable. So, keep wrapping the threads in your finger and discard as much as you can. Then, the soft banana stem has to be chopped thinly.
In order to avoid blackening, immerse the chopped banana stems immediately in salt-water. After an hour, remove from the brine and wash thrice under running water. Boil the stems or Thorh in salt-water (2 tsp salt and enough water to submerge) until almost soft. Strain and bring this to room temperature. Mash unevenly, so that 50% is mashed only.
The rest of the recipe is a breeze. The flavours come out really well of you use the right spices and of course, good Ghee. For this recipe, I have used the aromatic masalas and Ghee from Soul Flavours (by Modicare). Do visit their website to know about the entire range of products.
Whether it is the coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder, the turmeric powder or the Ghee, each ingredient adds its magic to this Bengali vegetarian delicacy called Thorer Ghonto. I loved the Garam masala powder, too! The masalas and the Cow Ghee sent by Soul Flavours are just perfect for any Indian dish. Be generous with the Ghee, as it really makes a lot of difference to this dish.
Bengali Niramish Thorer Ghonto Recipe |Banana Stem Stir-Fry
- 2 Banana stems Only use young stems
- 4 Potatoes (finely chopped)
- 8 Tbsp Mustard oil
- 2 Dry red chilli
- 2 Cinnamon stick (1-inch long)
- 10 Cloves
- 6 Green cardamoms
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Soul Flavours Red Chilli Powder
- 1 tsp Soul Flavours Turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp Soul Flavours Cumin Powder
- 3 tsp Soul Flavours Coriander Powder
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 5 Green chillies (slit)
- 3 Tbsp Soul Flavours Cow Ghee
- 1/2 tsp Soul Flavours Garam Masala Powder
- Please follow my instructions given in the blogpost on how to clean and prep the banana stems.
- Once the chopped banana stem or Thorh is boiled and partially mashed, heat a Kadhai and pour mustard oil in it.
- Heat oil until it reaches the smoking point. Add the bay leaves, whole garam masala, cumin seeds and dry red chillies.
- Prepare a paste of turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. Add this to the cooking vessel and sauté continuously for a few seconds on a very low flame.
- Add the boiled and semi-mashed banana stems. Make sure that there is no water in it.
- Add salt to this and sauté continuously for almost half an hour on a high flame. Now add the potatoes and cook further for 15 min.
- Add sugar, green chillies, ghee and Soul Flavours Garam masala powder. Sauté until the colour changes to brownish yellow and the ghee starts to separate from the banana stems. Check the seasoning and adjust at this stage. The final flavour should be spicy and slightly sweet as well.
- The non-vegetarian version is also fantastic. For this, just
add salt-turmeric-marinated and lightly fried Kucho Chingri or baby
shrimps to this dish at the time of adding sugar. Eat the Bengali Niramish Thorer Ghonto with steamed rice.
You might also like my Mocha Chingri recipe, which has banana flowers as the main ingredient. By the way, if you like my recipes and reviews, then do follow me (@purabinaha) on Instagram. Thank you for stopping by.