Chettinad Vazhakkai Perattal (Masala)

?Masala or Perattal is a spicy dry Chettinad specialty, with onions, spices and ground masala. This side dish is great with Rasam, Curd Rice, etc. Vazhakkai Perattal has its place at wedding feasts too!
Chettinad Cuisine is indeed unique, being spicy and aromatic. There are some very simple preparations and extremely elaborate ones. I am very happy to share some of our traditional family recipes @ Radhika's event.

Vazhakkai (Raw Banana) - 1
Turmerric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp

Onion - 1
Tomato - 2
Oil - 4 Tbsp
Mustard - 1/4 tsp
Urad Dal - 1/4 tsp
Peppercorns - 4
Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Saunf (Fennel Seeds) - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
Salt to taste

Masala Paste:
Coconut - 3 Tbsp
Small Onion - 5
Red Chillies - 7 to 9
Saunf - 1/4 tsp
Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Khus Khus - 1/4 tsp (optional)

Peel and cut raw banana into fingers.
Sprinkle turmerric powder and salt. Mix and keep aside for 5 minutes.

?In a shallow pan, heat about 2 tablespoonfuls of oil and shallow fry the marinated fingers, tossing to ensure that it is evenly cooked all over. (Alternately, you can deep fry them.)
Cut onions into quarters and then slice thinly.
Chop the tomatoes.
Grind the masala ingredients to a fine paste with enough water.
Coarsely (break into 2) crush the peppercorns.
Heat oil in a shallow non-stick pan or a thick iron kadai.
Add in mustard, jeera, urad, saunf, peppercorns and curry leaves.
Once the mustard splutters, add onions and saute for 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and salt and saute for another couple of minutes.
When the tomatoes are soft, add the ground (wet) masala and cook till it releases aroma and is dry. 

Now, add the fried / sauted raw banana and gently mix to coat all over. Fry over a slow flame until the masala is absorbed by the vegetable.

Serve with Rice, Kuzhambu, Rasam, Kootu, Poriyal, Pachadi - for an elaborate Chettinad Feast (meal).?

This recipe along with other Chettinad delicacies is participating @ CBB, Tickling Palates...

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