- 500 g cleaned and prepped thor (banana stem)
- 100 g potatoes
- 20 g peanuts
- 25 g grated coconut
- 40 g mustard oil
- 1 dried red chilli
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cardamoms
- 2 cloves
- 1 cinnamon
- ¾ tsp cumin seeds
- 1½ tsp cumin powder
- ¾ tsp coriander powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 10 g ginger paste
- 6 g salt
- 15 g sugar
- 3 green chillies (slit)
- 2 tbsp milk
- ¼ tsp atta (flour)
- 1 tbsp ghee
- ¼ tsp gorom moshla
It would be hard to think of a single part of the banana plant that Bengalis don’t put to some culinary use. 'Thor' is the innermost core of the banana stem. It develops only after the banana plant bears fruit. It has a crunchy, spongy, and fibrous texture which is a perfect vehicle for any flavour you put in it, as well as to add texture to dishes (such as labrar torkari). Thor’er ghonto is perhaps the most celebrated dish made out of the banana plant stem. The recipe is simple enough. The only cumbersome part of cooking this dish is prepping the thor, where one needs to remove the stringy fibres between slicing the damned thing.
- Slit the outermost layer of thor from one side, and remove it. Peel off the inner shiny surface until you are left with the fibrous core.
- Slice the core 2-mm thick. Pluck out the fibres between each slice. Reserve the slices in water to minimise browning.
- Julienne all the slices. Transfer these to a saucepan along with 6 g salt and 400 ml hot water.
- Steam on low heat, covered, for about 8 minutes. Drain over a strainer and allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile, chop potatoes in 3-cm cubes and slit the green chillies.
- Heat mustard oil in a kadai. Fry peanuts until golden and set aside.
- Temper the same oil with dried red chilli, bay leaf, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and cumin seeds.
- Add the potatoes and fry, covered, with ½ tsp salt for about 4 minutes.
- Add coconut and fry until golden.
- Make a slurry of cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric in a little water, and add it to the pan. Braise the spices on low heat for about 4 minutes.
- Add ginger paste, and fry for another minute.
- Mash the thor lightly using your hands, and add it to the pan.
- Cover and allow everything to cook together for about 20 minutes. Stir intermittently.
- Add sugar and slit green chillies. Cook for another 20 minutes.
- Mix atta in some warm milk and add it to the pan. Cook it off for a couple of minutes before turning off the heat, and adding ghee and gorom moshla.
- khunti/stirring spatula