Using banana blossoms as a vegetable is a very common thing in south and southeast Asia. Banana blossom is the main ingredient in ‘Yum Hua Plee’ ยำหัวปลี a Thai banana blossom salad.

The dressing is rich, comprising of coconut cream, Nam Prik Pao, tamarind puree, a little bit of coconut sugar and light soy sauce.
The thinly sliced banana flower is coated with the sauce and then mixed with dry ingredients, thinly sliced shallot and fresh herbs.

It is an exotic and very tasty salad that doesn’t take too much effort to prepare.

Ingredients and preparations

Center bowl:

  • Thinly sliced banana blossom

Dressing:

  • 5 table spoons, coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon, Nam Prik Pao
  • 1 tablespoon, tamarind puree
  • 1 teaspoon, coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon, light soy sauce

Aromatics and garnishes:

  • Roasted peanuts
  • Fried shallots
  • Dry roasted coconut flakes
  • Thinly sliced shallots
  • Mint leaves
  • Coriander leaves
  • Roasted dried chili flakes
Method

1.Remove the outer petals of the banana flower, until you reach the light creamy yellowish petals. Cut the blossom in half lengthwise. Place each half cone on a cutting board and thinly slice the blossom crosswise moving from the tip to the wide base of the cone. Immediately place the sliced blossom pieces in cold water with a few good squeezes of lime. This would prevent the blossom from oxidizing and would decrease astringency.

2.Deep fry the shallot and set to cool on a paper towel. Using the same oil roast the unsalted peanuts and set aside to cool.

3.Prepare all aromatics and garnishes, by thinly slicing a shallot, plucking mint leaves and dry roasting coconut flakes and chili powder on a skillet. I like to use a heavy cast iron skillet.

4.In a little bowl, mix the dressing ingredients until they reach homogeneous consistency. It should taste mildly sweet from the coconut cream and sugar, mildly sour from tamarind and salty. The taste would be complex from the chili jam and a bit spicy from chili flakes.

5.Drain excess water from the banana blossom and place in a mixing bowl. Add the peanuts and dress with the sauce. Add to the mixing bowl most of the aromatics and garnishes leaving the rest aside for final garnishing. Mix gently all the ingredients and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the remainder of shallot, coconut flakes and mint leaves and top with roasted chili flakes.

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