Ash plantain (Saambal Vaalai, as it is called in Tamil) is often used in Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisine. I am not very familiar with the varieties of plantains but as far as I am aware, ash plantain is the more common and popular variety in Sri Lanka and is a cooking plantain.
Today’s recipe is that of an ash plantain curry that my mother quite often makes at home.
Time taken: 25 mins
- Ash plantain – 2
- Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
- Onion – ½
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Tamarind extract – ½ cup
- Thin coconut milk – ½ cup
- Curry powder – 1 ½ tsp
- Salt, to taste
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Low fat oil – 1 tbsp + more, for light frying
- Peel the ash plantains and slice them.
- Lightly fry the ash plantain slices in a little oil. Keep aside.
- In a pan, add 1 tbsp oil and sauté the fenugreek seeds, chopped onion and curry leaves for a minute.
- Add the lightly fried ash plantain slices to the pan. Mix well and continue stir-frying for another 2 – 3 mins.
- Then, add the tamarind extract to the pan, followed by the thin coconut milk and the curry powder.
- Season the curry with salt to taste. Mix well and cook the curry for about 10 mins till the gravy thickens.
- Just before removing the pan from stove, add a tsp of sugar and mix well.
- Serve the spicy ash plantain curry with rice.
Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.