When I was in Sri Lanka, I discovered the benefit of eating banana blossoms. These wonderful flowers aid digestion and make a meal more refreshing. I decided to take on making a banana blossom salad at home. I was lucky to find the blossom at H Mart, our local Asian grocery store. I hope you will take the time to consider venturing into new territories and buying ingredients that you wouldn't normally pick up after seeing this recipe! You will surely benefit by opening up your palate. I say use a small or just a handful of something for the salad because it really is up to you. If you like thai basil more than you like mint, add a larger handful of thai basil. If you love scallions, you can add a regular handful rather than just a small one. This is a salad and so you aren't going to need exact ingredients, just the confidence to know what you want in a salad! Look forward to hearing what you think!
Poached Coconut Chicken:
4-5 pieces of chicken tenders
1 can of coconut milk
1 Green Thai Chili, minced
1 Red Thai Chili, minced
2 tbsps coconut/ palm sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of fish sauce
2 tbsp of lime juice
1/3 cup of water
1 tbsps of grated galangol
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 banana blossom, peeled completely. Only use the white part of the blossom and finely slice the white leaves and place in 1 cup of water with extra lime juice immediately so it does not discolor.
1 handful of mint leaves, chopped
1 handful of thai basil leaves, chopped
1 hanful of cashews, chopped
2 thai red chilies, minced
Small handful of sliced scallions
In a medium sized pot, add all of the ingredients for the poached coconut chicken over medium-high heat;
As the liquid with the chicken begins to boil, reduce heat to medium/medium-low heat and allow it to cook for about five minutes, stirring occassionally;
After 5 minutes, reduce heat to the lowest setting while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
For the banana blossom: You are going to remove all of the red leaves that you encounter to be able to get just the white portion of leaves in the center. Similar to an artichoke or lemongrass in terms of getting to the heart of the flower. I halved and washed two of the red leaves to use to serve the salad as you can see above. When you get to the white leaves, thinly slice them until you come to the end of the banana leave where you find the white pollen. Toss all of the slices leaves into water with lime juice to ensure it does not discolor.
In a medium/large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together for the salad except for the banana leaves and chicken;
Remove the chicken from the coconut broth and slice thinly. You will see that because the chicken is poached, it just falls apart! Let the chicken cool for a bit;
While you are letting the chicken cool, place banana leaves through sieve and add to the other salad ingredients in the bowl; and
Add the chicken and a few tablesspoons of the coconut broth and toss the salad ingredients together. Add a little more lime juice or coconut broth to your salad if you'd like- get to the right taste for your buds!
Serve as is or in the washed red leaves you saved!