I had to buy this gorgeous flower when I saw it in the market even though I had no idea how to cook it. Regardless, the bright purple hue and the little flowers delicately placed the petals was enough reason for me to bring three of these home !
After some research online and with some local intel, my cook and I found that cooking Kelful is a long process that involves pealing the flower petal by petal and then removing the smaller flowers from within. These small flowers are super cute and are arranged like tiny bananas (as they would eventually turn into bananas). The Kelful bhaji is made with these flowers. From the flower, two different parts are removed as they are bitter and not eaten. One is the long dark color stem inside the flower and second is a part of the small petal called 'feather'. Below is a video that describes the cleaning of Kelful.
After cleaning, some cooks recommend soaking the usable flowers in water with lemon. This prevents the delicate flowers from oxidizing in air. Next we chopped the flowers and cooked them as regular bhaji with coconut.
The flowers are very delicate, but I felt that cooking them as bhaji does not do justice to their texture. For next time, I am looking for a recipe that will require minimum or no cooking of the flower. Suggestions ?