Get ready to entice your senses with this south-Indian style Kacche kele ki sabzi also called as Bareda kai ajadina (Raw banana/plantain dish) in Mangalore. Serve this simple yet flavorful dish on its own with rotis or as a side dish with rice and dal to make a light lunch or dinner.
If I asked you what comes to mind when I say “banana”, I guess most of us would say one or more of the following – sweet fruit, healthy snack and perhaps, high in potassium and fiber for those inclined to think about its health benefits.
And you’d be right, of course.
But this post is about using raw bananas in a veggie dish and when we say raw bananas or kaccha kela we are in fact, referring to plantains. Plantains is a banana variety that isn’t as tasty when it’s ripe, so it’s generally cooked and eaten.
If you are wondering how bananas and plantains are different, the next paragraph addresses just that.
What is the difference between plantain and banana?
While plantains are a member of the banana family, it is considered to be more like a vegetable than a fruit. They are high in starch and low in sugar and that makes it ..to put it mildly – unpalatable. I have tried eating them, I would know 🙂
Visually, plantains are bigger, greener and have thicker skin than the banana. Unlike a regular banana, you can’t just take the peel off with your bare hands, you will need a swivel peeler.
What if we wait for the plantain or raw banana to overripen?
Externally, the skin will go from green to yellow and end up being brown but the texture remains the same. And the taste.. well it may turn a tad bit sweeter but still inedible until cooked.
How do we cook plantains or kaccha kela?
To cook plantains, peel and slice them into cubes and then boil them in water till they soften. While plantains are mostly used in savory dishes such as Kachche kele ki sabzi, you can also slice it thinly and deep fry it to make plantain chips as well.
How to make Bareda kai ajadina or south-Indian style kacche kele ki sabzi?
Before we begin, let me explain that Bareda kai ajadina or Balekai palya is how Mangaloreans refer to the dry kacche kele ki sabzi (raw plantain dish) in Mangalore. Ajadina means dry sabzi in Tulu and Bareda kai means plantain or raw banana or as we say in Hindi – kaccha Kela.
Making south-Indian style kacche kele ki sabzi involves tempering cooked plantains with coconut oil, curry leaves, and simmering it in a mixture of coconut and Kundapur masala powder (or chili powder). The recipe below has a hint of sweetness as it has jaggery. That’s how my grandmom made it, but using jaggery is totally optional.
Fun fact – While plantains or raw banana are very popular in India, don’t be surprised to find plantains used as a staple in Carribean, African, and even Latin American cuisine as well.
- 2 plantains, peeled and cubed (makes approximately 2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 sprig of kadipatta (curry leaves)
- 1/2 of medium sized onion, finely cut (~1/2 cup chopped onions)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, pound to a paste
- 3-4 tablespoons of crushed jaggery
- 2 tablespoons Kundapur Masala Powder (see note to make it from scratch only for this dish)
- 1 teaspoon chilly powder
- 1/4 cup grated coconut
- salt to taste
- Cooking the plantain – In a saucepan, boil 2 cups of water, add the chopped plantain along with tamarind and salt. Cook the plantain till they are soft AND not mushy (This will take around 15-20 minutes).
- Heat the oil in a medium sized wok or kadhai over medium heat and add mustard seeds to it. When they start spluttering, add kadipatta to it. Let it fry for around 20 seconds and then add onions and garlic paste and fry them till they are translucent.
- Add the boiled plantain along with jaggery to the pan and mix well and let it simmer for 5 minutes. [Add around 1/4 cup of water if you think the plantain is not quite cooked as you want it to be]
- In a small bowl, mix Kundapur masala powder, grated coconut, chili powder and salt to the pan and mix well. Add this mixture to the kadhai with the cooked plantain. Mix well. [Note – Make sure all the water is absorbed before you add the coconut- Kundapur masala mixture]
- Let the plantain simmer in the wok for another 5 minutes before taking it off heat.
- Serve hot with steamed rice and curry.
Using an Instant Pot
- Cooking the plantain – Add the plantain along with 2 cups of water, tamarind paste, and salt in the steel insert of the Instant Pot. Select “Pressure Cook.” Adjust the time to 4 minutes and set the pressure selection to high. Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Make sure the vent is at sealing position. Wait until the Vent returns to the venting position to check on your plantains. Drain the excess water and set the plantains aside.
- Rinse and dry the Instant Pot and add oil. Add oil in the steel insert of the Instant Pot and press the Saute function. Press the Adjust button to move the selection to “low” and wait till the display reads “Hot.” Add mustard seeds to it. When they start spluttering, add kadipatta to it. Let it fry for around 20 seconds and then add onions and garlic paste and fry them till they are translucent.
- Add the boiled plantain along with jaggery in the steel insert and mix well and let it simmer for 5 minutes. [Add around 1/4 cup of water if you think the plantain is not quite cooked as you want it to be]
- In a small bowl, add Kundapur masala powder, grated coconut, chili powder and salt and mix well. Add this mixture to the Instant Pot and mix well. [Note – Make sure all the water is absorbed before you add the coconut- Kundapur masala mixture]
- Let the plantain simmer in the Instant Pot for another 5 minutes. Press “Warm / Cancel” button.
- Serve hot with steamed rice and curry.
To make Kundapur masala powder for this recipe – you need 10 byadgi chilies,1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon methi seeds, 7-8 black pepper seeds. This may yield approximately 3-4 tablespoons of Kundapur masala powder. You need only 2 tablespoons for this recipe. Save the rest for later.
1. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a medium sized pan and over medium heat.
2. Add chilies to it and roast them till an aroma emanates from it. Remove the chilies and keep it aside.
3. Roast remaining ingredients (coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pepper seeds and fenugreek seeds) for a minute or till it turns aromatic. Set it aside to cool it down (for approximately 10 minutes)
4.Transfer them to a blender along with the chilies and grind them to a fine powder. Store it in an airtight container for future use.
Other Mangalorean recipes that may interest you
- Kori Gassi (Mangalorean chicken curry)
- Kori ajadina or chicken sukka (Dry chicken dish)
- Shrimp Ajadina (Dry shrimp/prawn Curry)
- Yeti Gassi (Shrimp curry)
- Bhuthai Gassi (Sardines in a Mangalorean gravy)
Before you go, follow me on Pinterest and pin this recipe to your board to make it in the future.
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