Thor Bhaja Recipe | Banana Stem Fry

5 from 1 vote
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Thor Bhaja, also known as banana stem fry, is a delectable dish originating from South Indian and Bengali cuisine.

This dish showcases the versatility of the banana stem, which is the cylindrical trunk of the banana plant.

Traditionally prepared by sautéing thinly sliced banana stem, Thor Bhaja offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Thor Bhaja or Fried Banana Stem is a common vegetable recipe and quite popular at Bengali households.

Banana Stem Fry or Thor Bhaja

Key Takeaways:

  • Thor Bhaja, also known as banana stem fry, is a dish made from sautéing thinly sliced banana stem.
  • It has a mildly sweet taste with a slight bitterness and earthy undertones.
  • The sautéing process creates a tender texture with a slight crispiness on the outside.
  • Thor Bhaja is typically seasoned with spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and red chili powder.
  • It can be enjoyed with rice, roti and paratha.

The Ingredients:

Thor Bhaja Ingredients

  • Banana Stem 500 grams
  • Green Chili: 2
  • Dry Red Chili: 3
  • Mustard Seed: 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1 tsp
  •  Mustard Oil 2 tsp
  • Salt to Taste

How to Make Thor Bhaja (Step by Step Images)?

1. Add 1 and ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp turmeric to the banana stem. Mix well with your hand. It will soften the banana stem and drain out the water from the stem.

Adding salt and turmeric to the banana stem

2. Cover the mixture and put it aside for 10-15 minutes. Drain out excess water by using your hand.

Drain out excess water by using your hand

3. Switch your gas stove on and put a pan on it.

Cooking pan on gas stove

4. Pour oil into it.

Adding oil in Kadai

5. After oil is heated, add dry red chilies and mustard seeds. You can also use black cumin in place of mustard seeds.

Thor Bhaja

6. After the seeds start spluttering, add marinated banana stems to the pan.

Adding banana stems to the cooking pan

7. Stir fry the banana stems very well.

Stir frying the banana stems

8. Reduce the flame and put a lid over the pan. Let it cook for 10 minutes.

lid over the pan

9. Open the lid and stir. Cover it once again for 5 minutes.

Open the lid and stir, then put back lid step by step image

10. Add two green chillies and salt up to taste.

Add two green chillies and salt up to taste

11. Sauté it until the water dries.

Sauté it until the water dries.

12. Switch off the gas and pour the fried banana stem on a plate. Garnish it with green and red chillies. Serve hot.

Banana stem fry is ready

Pro Tips: What to Remember While Making Thor Bhaja?

Here are some pro tips to help you make delicious Thor Bhaja:

Choosing the banana stem: Select a fresh and tender banana stem for the best results. Look for stems that are firm, free from discoloration or bruises.

Cleaning the banana stem: Properly clean the banana stem before slicing it. Remove the outer layers and discard any tough or fibrous parts. Slice the stem into thin, round pieces. To prevent discoloration, soak the sliced pieces in water.

Sautéing technique: Heat oil or ghee in a pan or skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tempering spices such as mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves. Allow them to crackle and release their aroma before adding the sliced banana stem. Sauté the banana stem until it becomes tender and slightly crispy. Avoid overcooking to maintain its texture and flavor.

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Seasoning: You can use a combination of spices like turmeric, red chili powder, and salt to season the Thor Bhaja. Adjust the spices according to your taste preferences. You can also add a pinch of asafoetida (hing) for additional flavor.

Flavor enhancements: For extra flavor, you can include ingredients like finely chopped onions, garlic, ginger, or green chilies while sautéing the banana stem. These additions can elevate the taste profile of the dish.

Garnishing: Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) on top of the cooked Thor Bhaja before serving. It adds a fresh and vibrant touch to the dish.

Remember, these tips are meant to enhance your Thor Bhaja preparation, but feel free to adjust them based on your personal preferences and taste.

What to Serve with Thor Bhaja?

Here are some traditional and popular accompaniments to serve with Thor Bhaja:

Rice and dal: Serve Thor Bhaja with steamed rice and a comforting lentil dish like sambar, dal, or rasam. The combination of flavors and textures complements each other well, creating a satisfying and balanced meal.

Roti or Paratha: Thor Bhaja can be paired with Indian bread like roti or paratha. The soft and chewy texture of the bread complements the crispy Thor Bhaja, creating a delightful contrast.

Raita: A cool and refreshing raita can be a great accompaniment to Thor Bhaja. Prepare a simple yogurt-based raita with chopped cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of roasted cumin powder.

Salad: A fresh and crisp salad can be served alongside Thor Bhaja to add a refreshing element to the meal. Prepare a salad with cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and lettuce, dressed with a simple vinaigrette or lemon juice.

Remember, these are just suggestions, and you can choose the accompaniments that suit your taste and preferences. Enjoy experimenting with different combinations to create a satisfying and flavorful meal with Thor Bhaja.

How Does Thor Bhaja Taste?

Thor Bhaja – Banana Stem Fry Taste

Here’s a description of how Thor Bhaja generally tastes:

Mildly Sweet: Thor Bhaja has a subtle natural sweetness that comes from the banana stem itself. This sweetness adds a pleasant and delicate flavor to the dish.

Slightly Bitter: The banana stem also has a slight bitterness to it, which adds a unique and interesting dimension to the taste. The bitterness is usually mild and balanced with other flavors.

Earthy Undertones: Thor Bhaja has an earthy flavor that is characteristic of the banana stem. It lends a natural and wholesome taste to the dish, connecting it to the plant’s roots.

Savory and Tangy: Along with the sweetness and bitterness, Thor Bhaja typically has a savory and tangy profile. The combination of spices used in the sautéing process, such as mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and red chili powder, adds depth and complexity to the taste.

Texturally Pleasing: The texture of Thor Bhaja is another important aspect of its taste experience. The sautéing process makes the banana stem tender and slightly crispy on the outside. This contrast in texture enhances the overall enjoyment of the dish.

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It’s important to note that the taste of Thor Bhaja can vary slightly depending on the specific recipe and regional variations.

Some may adjust the spices or add additional ingredients to suit their taste preferences. Overall, Thor Bhaja offers a unique and flavorful experience that showcases the natural flavors of the banana stem.

Thor Bhaja Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Thor Bhaja or banana stem fry, here are a few dishes that you might enjoy:

Banana Flower Curry: Instead of using the banana stem, you can try cooking with the banana flower (also known as banana blossom). It is often used to make delicious curries or stir-fries. The banana flower has a unique flavor and texture that adds depth to the dish.

Thor Chhechki: In Bengali cuisine, Thor Chhechki is a dish made by stir-frying banana stem with spices and grated coconut. It is a flavorful and healthy alternative to Thor Bhaja.

Vegetable Stir-Fry: If you’re looking for a broader vegetable option, you can prepare a mixed vegetable stir-fry with an assortment of vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, beans, and cabbage. Sauté them with spices of your choice for a delicious and colorful side dish.

Potato Fry: For a simple and satisfying side dish, you can make potato fry by sautéing sliced or cubed potatoes with spices. It’s a versatile dish that pairs well with various meals.

Okra Fry: Okra, also known as lady’s finger, can be sliced and sautéed with spices to make a flavorful and crispy fry. It’s a popular dish in many cuisines and goes well with rice or roti.

Eggplant Fry: Eggplant slices or cubes can be fried until golden brown and seasoned with spices for a tasty side dish. The crispy exterior and soft interior of the eggplant make it a delicious alternative.

These are just a few alternatives to Thor Bhaja that you can explore. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and spices to create unique and flavorful dishes that suit your taste preferences.

Recipe Card

Banana Stem Fry or Thor Bhaja

Thor Bhaja (Banana Stem Fry)

By Mita Mondal
Thor Bhaja, also known as banana stem fry, is a dish made by sautéing thinly sliced banana stem with spices until tender and slightly crispy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 500 grams Banana Stem (finely thin cut and cleaned)
  • 2 pieces Green Chili
  • 2 pieces Dry Red Chili
  • 1/2 tablespoon Mustard Seed
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric
  • 2 tablespoon Mustard Oil
  • Salt to Taste

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, combine the sliced banana stem with 1 and ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of turmeric. Mix well, allowing the salt to soften the banana stem and drain excess water.
  • Set the mixture aside, covering it, for 10-15 minutes. Then, drain any remaining water from the banana stem by gently squeezing it.
  • Preheat a pan on medium heat and add oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add dry red chilies and mustard seeds (or black cumin as an alternative).
  • Once the seeds start spluttering, add the prepared banana stem to the pan.
  • Sauté the banana stem, ensuring it is well-coated with the spices.
  • Reduce the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, stir the contents, and cover it once again for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add two green chilies and salt to taste.
  • Continue sautéing until the excess water evaporates, and the banana stem is cooked to your desired tenderness.
  • Turn off the heat and transfer the fried banana stem to a serving plate.
  • Garnish with additional green and red chilies, if desired.
  • Serve the Thor Bhaja hot and enjoy!

Video

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Notes

Banana stem selection: Choose a fresh and tender banana stem for the best results. Look for stems that are firm, have a vibrant green color, and are free from discoloration or bruises.
Cleaning and prepping: Properly clean the banana stem by removing the outer layers and discarding any tough or fibrous parts. Slice the stem into thin, round pieces. Soak the sliced pieces in water.
Seasoning variations: Feel free to adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences. You can increase or decrease the amount of spices like salt, turmeric, and red chili powder. Add other spices or herbs like cumin powder or coriander powder for additional flavor.
Sautéing technique: Sauté the banana stem on medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure even cooking. Adjust the cooking time based on your desired tenderness. Be careful not to overcook the banana stem, as it can become mushy.
Additional ingredients: While the basic recipe focuses on the banana stem and spices, you can experiment by adding other ingredients like finely chopped onions, garlic, ginger, or green chilies to enhance the flavor profile.
Garnishing options: Apart from garnishing with green and red chilies, you can also add a sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) or grated coconut to enhance the visual appeal and taste of the dish.
Serving suggestions: Thor Bhaja can be enjoyed with rice and roti.
These recipe notes provide additional guidance and flexibility to customize the Thor Bhaja according to your preferences. Enjoy the cooking process and feel free to experiment with different variations to make it your own.
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Conclusion

Finally, Thor Bhaja, or banana stem fry, is a delightful dish that showcases the versatility and flavors of the banana stem.

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With its mildly sweet taste, slight bitterness, and earthy undertones, it offers a unique flavor profile.

The sautéing technique creates a tender texture with a crispy exterior, adding to the overall enjoyment.

Thor Bhaja brings a delicious and wholesome experience to the palate.

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