Wednesday 14 March 2012

Banana Flower Salad

I picked up a banana flower in the market the other day so decided to make banana flower salad. I made a similar salad in a cooking class in Vietnam a few years ago. The problem with this cooking class was that every ingredient was cut and prepared already so you only had to mix the ingredients together.
My main challenge was trying to figure out how to cut the banana flower which is difficult if your not sure how; in between leaves there are small bananas which if not removed first, get sticky sap all over the knife. Also as soon as you cut the leaves they start turning black. I hope that you can work out how to cut the flower with my written instructions below (Next time I get a banana flower, I will do a proper tutorial with photos on how to slice the flower)

serves 2, prep 15 min, cook 20 min
banana flower with outer layers removed
2 chicken breasts (boneless skinless)
6 prawns
3 shallots
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 orange or red capsicum (bell pepper)
1/2 cup fresh mint chopped
(lemon or lime juice)

Bring a pot of water to boil, lower heat and add chicken breasts and simmer until cooked through (about 10 minutes), turn off heat and let sit in water for 10 minutes.  Let cool and shred into small pieces. Cook prawns in poaching water until they turn pink. Remove prawns from water and cut down spine.

Finely slice shallots. In skillet heat oil, add shallots and saute for about 4 minutes until caramelized. Set aside. Finely slice capsicum, set aside

Make dressing.

1 Tablespoon palm sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
2 Tablespoons fish sauce (Thai or Vietnamese)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 
1 chili pepper finely minced 
salt & pepper

In large bowl mix all dressing ingredients together, stir until palm sugar is dissolved. Add shredded chicken, and prawns and stir.

Once the banana flower in cut it turns black very quickly so it is best to do this step last! Get a large bowl and fill with cold water and some lemon or lime juice.  Remove outer purple leaves from banana flower and discard. Next remove all the light colored leaves (keep all light colored leave) and discard the small mini bananas which are between the layers. Stack all the light colored leaves together, and with a very sharp knife, finely slice. Immediately put sliced pieces in lemon water in bowl. 

Remove sliced banana flowers from water and drain. Add sliced banana flowers, capsicum, shallots and mint to chicken and prawns and stir. 

Simply eat as a salad or serve on top of freshly fried prawn crackers as an appetizer. 

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