The Tamil name for Banana is "Vaazhaipazham".
In Tami language, just "Vaazhai" alone will denote "Banana".
More about Banana tree and all its parts and uses are found in this page - Banana Tree.
A combination "Vaazhai" + "a word" will mean Banana, Plantain, the trunk of Banana, the flower of Banana etc... All these are useful for us either to eat as such or as means to eat food.
"Vaazhai" + "Maram" = Vaazhaimaram meaning Banana tree or Plantain tree. "Maram" means tree"
"Vaazhai" + "Kai" = Vaazhaikai meaning Plantain (used as vegetable) or some times called Green Banana (unripe banana). "Kai" means "Vegetable"
"Vaazhai" + "Poo" = Vaazhaipoo meaning the flower of Banana tree. "Poo" means "Flower".
"Thandu" = VaazhaiThandu meaning the trunk of Banana tree
"Vaazhai" + "Pazham" = Vaazhaipazham meaning Banana. "Pazham" means "Fruit".
In classic Tamil literature it is said (and hence traditionally we say), the following 3 fruits (KANI) are supreme, incomparable fruits as they are rich in nutrients and taste.
These are the 3 VIP fruits.
They are called Mukkanigal in Tamil language.
"Mu" means 3.
"Kani" means "Fruit" and
"gal" is suffix for plural form.
This is one of the traditional fruit of Tamils.
Banana is eaten in fruit form as well as in unripe form which is called as Green Banana or Plantain. The plantain tree is by far the best tree which gives everything for our use either to eat or to use.
Banana is available throughout the year. It is a friendly fruit for us. We eat Banana, when we are hungry or to boost up energy or as a dessert at the end of the meal.
There are plenty of varieties of Banana.
The most famous are:
3. Nenthiram - This is a long Banana
4. Malai vaazhai - Malai means mountain and Vaazhai is Banana. This is mostly grown in mountains. Hence it is mountain banana
5. Elaki - This is a short one
6. Sevvazhai - Sev here means Red and Vazhai is Banana. This is Red Banana
Banana fruit as offering: Traditional we will have 2 Banana's as an offering to God when we pray to God. Usually Banana's will be accompanied by coconut.
Bunch of Banana's are also offered to teacher by students before or after or during the course of an education.
Banana fruit as a dessert or energy booster: Banana fruit is served as a dessert in a typical Tamil meal course. We eat Banana when we are hungry or just to boost up energy. Most commonly served in restaurants are the Elaki Banana, Karpoora valli.
Image of Karpoora valli Banana
Image of Elaki Banana
Image of Sevazhai Banana
Image of Moris Banana
Nenthiram chips or Banana chips: One particular Banana, named, Nenthiram is used to make chips. This is quite famous and it is mainly from South Indian state, Kerala which is neighbouring state to Tamil Nadu. This chips is fried in Coconut oil.
Image of Nenthiram Banana
Spelling variations in Tamil name for Banana:
Vaazhai, Vaazhaipazham, Vazhaipazham, Vazhai pazham
Some people cannot pronounce the Tamil letter "Zha" and hence some people will pronounce Pazham as Palam.
So the variations of name will include Vaalai, Vaalaipalam, Valaipalam, Valai palam
There is no equivalent letter or way of pronouncing Tamil "Zha" in English language. The closest is "Zha" or simple "la".
It is said that, "Zha" is beauty of Tamil language. As you can note, the word "Tamil" in English ends with the letter "l" since there is no equivalent for Tamil letter "Zha with a dot".