I love using raw banana for veggie preparations, especially, in the dry forms. This green unripe Plantain Fry is one of them. Also known as the Vazhakkai Varuval or Vazhakkai Fry (Tamil) in South Indian cuisine, this is a spicy and slightly crisp raw banana roast recipe which is a super accompaniment to a meal of Rasam or Sambar and rice or paired with some Dal and raita. This delicious recipe is also really simple and healthy, along with being vegan as well as gluten-free too.
About Vazhakkai Fry
Put in simple words, the English meaning of the Tamil word ‘vazhakkai’ is raw unripe banana or plantain and ‘varuval’ means ‘fried’ that can be deep fried, shallow fried or even stir fried.
South Indian cuisine has many such easy recipes made with a variety of veggies that are not just super flavorful but also are nutritious.
These work as fantastic side dishes to make a regular meal wholesome. One such preparation is the Vazhakkai Fry, regionally known as Vazhakkai Varuval.
Why this recipe is all the more easy, is because apart from raw unripe banana, the other ingredients that go in the making of it are also very basic and available in most of Indian home kitchens, all year round.
Also, since every ingredient is plant based, the recipe is vegan-friendly too. It is also a yummy gluten-free dish.
In addition to prepping up the raw plantains, another element of this varuval recipe is the coarse powder made with cumin seeds and black pepper.
Along with this, other ingredients used in this recipe are mustard seeds, pearl onions, green chili, curry leaves and ground spices like turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder and coriander powder.
I would also suggest cooking the Vazhakkai Fry in coconut oil for an authentic taste and mouth-feel. I often make plantain stir fries in different ways – from a simple stir fry with minimal spices or with some fresh coconut to a spicy version. This particular recipe is one of the favorites.
Making this recipe does not take much time. The banana cubes are added raw and then slowly fried over a low heat, with frequent stirrings. As a result, the banana gets slightly crisp with the spices coating it well and eventually resulting in a delish creation.
In my weekly groceries, unripe banana is a must and every week I make one or two dishes with it. Apart from this Vazhakkai Fry, some other preferred raw plantain dishes that I make at home are this delish and simple Raw Banana Fry and a Tamil style Vazhakkai Poriyal.
I have added pearl onions (small sambar onions or small shallots) in this Tamil style Vazhakkai Fry recipe. You can substitute it with the regular red onions. Onions can also be skipped, if you want.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the best way to relish the flavors of this raw banana roast is to have it alongside any South Indian meal.
How to make Vazhakkai Varuval
1. Take ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a mortar-pestle. Crush coarsely and keep aside.
2. Peel, rinse and chop 4 to 5 pearl onions in thick slices. Chop 2 medium bananas in small cubes, just before you start cooking.
If you chop them earlier, then they darken. Thus, you need to soak them in water to avoid darkening.
Make Vazhakkai Fry
3. Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Instead of coconut oil, you can use peanut oil or sunflower oil also.
4. Keep heat to low or medium-low, and add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds.
5. Let them splutter.
6. Then, add ¼ cup thickly sliced pearl onions (shallots or small onions), 1 chopped or slit green chili and 6 to 7 curry leaves.
You can add ¼ cup chopped onions, instead of pearl onions.
7. Sauté on low heat for about 2 minutes.
8. Then, add chopped raw banana cubes.
9. Mix well.
10. On low heat, begin to sauté the raw plantains (vazhakkai).
11. Keep a check and stir after every 2 to 3 minutes.
12. Sauté plantains till they are half done or half cooked.
13. Then, add the prepared spice powder mix.
14. Next, add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder, ½ teaspoon coriander powder, ½ teaspoon fennel powder and salt as per taste.
15. Mix the spice powders very well.
16. On low heat, continue to sauté till the raw banana (vazhakkai) is cooked.
17. Stir regularly at intervals so that the raw banana is cooked evenly or else the bottom layer gets too browned. Sauté till the raw banana (vazhakkai) is slightly crisp and cooked well.
18. Serve Vazhakkai Fry hot or warm as a side dish with any South Indian meal. You can even garnish Vazhakkai Varuval with some chopped coriander leaves, if you prefer.
- Make sure to chop the bananas, just before you start cooking. If you chop them earlier and keep, they will darken. Then, you will have to soak them also, to avoid the darkening.
- For best results, cook the dish in coconut oil. If not, then you can also use peanut oil or sunflower oil.
- In place of pearl onions or shallots, you can also use ¼ cup chopped red onions. You can skip using onions too.
- To make this banana roast spicier, you can even increase the quantity of green chillies and/or red chili powder and garam masala powder.
More Similar Recipes To Try!
South Indian Food
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Vazhakkai Fry | Vazhakkai Varuval
Vazhakkai Varuval or Vazhakkai Fry is a spicy and slightly crisp stir fried dish made with raw unripe green skinned plantains. This South Indian plantain preparation pairs well as a side dish with rasam, sambar, and dal.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Prevent your screen from going dark while making the recipe
Take cumin seeds and black pepper in a mortar-pestle. Crush coarsely and keep aside.
Peel, rinse and chop the pearl onions in thick slices.
Peel and chop the plantains in small cubes just before you start cooking. If you chop them earlier then they darken. Thus you need to soak them in water to avoid darkening.
Making vazhakkai varuval
Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Instead of coconut oil you can use peanut oil or sunflower oil also.
Keep heat to a low or medium-low and add mustard seeds. Let them splutter.
Then add the thickly sliced pearl onions, chopped or slit green chili and curry leaves.
Sauté for about 2 minutes on a low heat. Next add the chopped plantain cubes and mix well.
On a low heat begin to sauté plantain.
Do keep a check and stir after every 2 to 3 minutes.
Sauté plantain till they are half done or half cooked on a low heat.
Then add crushed cumin seeds and black pepper.
Next add turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala powder, coriander powder and fennel powder. Also add salt as per taste.
Mix the spice powders very well with the plantains.
Continue to sauté till plantains are cooked and tender.
Stir regularly at intervals so that the plantains are cooked evenly or else the bottom layer gets too browned. So frequent stirrings are required.
Sauté till plantains are slightly crisp and cooked tender.
Serve Vazhakkai Fry hot or warm as a side dish with any South Indian meal. You can even garnish Vazhakkai Varuval with some chopped coriander leaves if you like.
- Instead of coconut oil, use sunflower or peanut oil or any of your preferred oil.
- Choose plantains that are unripe and not semi-ripe.
- Peel the plantains first and then chop them just before you begin making the recipe. Or else you will need to soak them in water so that they do not discolor.
- This is a spicy Vazhakkai Fry. But you can adjust the spices and seasonings according to your taste.
Vazhakkai Fry | Vazhakkai Varuval
Amount Per Serving
Calories 266 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Vitamin A 1470IU29%
Vitamin C 69mg84%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This Vazhakkai Fry recipe from the blog archives, first published in February 2018 has been republished and updated on February 2023.