Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tender Banana Plantain Stem (Gabbo/ Gabbe) - An Essay

Tender Banana Stem (Gabbo or Gabbe)

Banana Plantain is an adored foliage in most of the western and southern parts of India. Every independent house would inevitably have one cosy corner adorned with bounties of Plantain families nestling together. The simple process of planting a Banana Plantain begins with the process of getting a baby sapling (Kele Kurlo) and planting in a marshy region of the backyard. Within few months you would begin to see tender shoots of dark green and light green sprouting out and the tree shooting towards the heaven.

Banana Plantain has many a parts which can be consumed or utilised in the kitchen, home or just for general purpose use. The Banana's can be used in raw or ripe form for edible delights. The leaves of Banana are used as plates while having/serving food especially for religious ceremonies, weddings, mass lunch and dinners. The skin of Banana especially the browned ones are soaked in water and sun-dried. Then they are used as threads to sew flowers (Kele Vaayu). The Banana flower (Kele Bondi) which is a reddish conch shaped element sprouting out along with the Banana bunch is also used to make many a tasty dishes. The most interesting part of Banana is the Tender Banana stem (Gabbo) which is embedded within the trunk of the Banana Plantain. Once the Banana bunch is trimmed from the tree, the Plantain is chopped off from the ground level. The trunk is then chipped off,of the many a layers of skin to find a tube shaped stem found in the core which is edible, rich is fibre and extremely nutritious. In Konkani, its known as Gabbo or Gabbe. The stem has to be scaled off the layers, chopped into slices and used as a complementary vegetable in Konkani dishes like Koddel, Bendi and all Masala based curries.

Banana Bunch on the Plantain

Interestingly, many of them are not aware of the Tender Banana Stem and discard the trunk once the harvest is completed. I have seen the stems being available in local markets in Udupi, Mangalore and some areas of Bombay markets as well. My parents source the Stems from local farmers who own large farms with arrays of Plantain. The Stem has many a curative powers especially for kidney related ailments and urinary disorders. Owing to the high fibre content, the fibrous cellulose content of the Stem acts as a cleanser and keeps the kidney in good shape. It also acts as a roughage when introduced in curries and gravies due to the high fibre content. Its an astonishing fact to learn that nature can endow a single plant form with so many utilities.


  1. I love this too .. We call it Vazhai Thandu .. It is so delicious :)

  2. @ Nisha -
    Thanks. It is indeed a lovely vegetable.

  3. Very nice info...Love the plaintain tree pics.

  4. We use this a lot in our part; a dry subzi and as vadi's too.

  5. @ ?
    Thanks. The vegetable can be used in multiple ways for different dishes.

  6. Replies
    1. @ Lakshmi Canteen @ Koppa -
      Thank you! :-)


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