Monday, May 23, 2011

Banana Flower Salad, step by step

Some of you may remember that I showed you my banana plant a few weeks ago. Well, there are green bananas now, I read somewhere that it is good to cut the flower off, and wrap the bananas with blue plastic. I did just so, thinking that it is getting cold here, and maybe I won't get any bananas... and then I thought of, at least, eating the flower! I looked in all my books but I could not find a recipe, and yet I remembered eating banana flower salad ages ago, somewhere in Asia... I checked on the net, I found a few recipes, and the one that I most liked was this one. Of course I did a few variations, according to my taste.

Banana Flower Salad

1 banana flower
Juice of 2 lemons
1 clove of garlic
1 fresh chili
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
A few leaves of Vietnamese mint
A few leaves of coriander
1 large potato, peeled and cubed

First juice the lemons and keep the juice at hand. Start peeling the flower, removing all the purple and pink petals, and the flowers that you will find underneath, (apparently you can eat these too, but they need some fiddly cleaning which I didn't feel like doing, and the taste wasn't too strong or appealing.

Work on your flower until you get to the centre and you cannot remove anymore petals, but keep the petals aside for later.

Finely chop the banana flower core, sprinkling it with lemon juice as you go, since there is a sap that will quickly turn your bud black.

The leaves can be washed and dried and used as plates.

Put the chopped banana flower in a bowl and add the remaining lemon juice, the sugar and salt, the Vietnamese mint leaves. Finely chop the garlic, chili (I used a yellow one, but I removed the seeds) and coriander, and add to the salad.

The salad need to marinate for a few hours, otherwise it will taste really astringent, a bit like unripe persimmon.

To speed up the marinating process I pressed the salad down with a weight (in this case another bowl full of water. But I knew that it would still be a little astringent, so I decided to solve the problem by adding a potato. I peeled and cubed a big potato, and boiled it with a pinch of salt. Then I drained it and let it cool down.

I waited about 4 hours, then I stirred the salad well, drained off the excess liquid from the marinade (quite a bit), added the potatoes and stirred. I put everything inside four banana leaves, and served it as an antipasto to my family.

The verdict? They loved it, even the kids, they recognized the Vietnamese flavours in it (they loved Vietnam and its food) and they liked the texture and the fact that it was our own banana flower! Now they just hope that the bananas will ripen too, and that the other banana plants will also flower.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Con questa ricetta partecipo a Chi mi aiuta a raccogliere l'insalata? di
Burro e Miele. Sicuramente non facile da rifare in Europa, ma nella vita non si sa mai!


  1. questo dovresti spiegarmelo..ho capito che sono fiori di banana, vero? e poi...è bella questo lo vedo da sola...

  2. My-oh-my, how wonderfully exotic! And how wonderful not to have to wash the "plates" after the meal, either :-)

  3. That's so amazing! But how ironic that I've learned more about tropical cuisine from your NZ blog than anyone actually in the tropics!!

  4. Fantastico...non avevamo mai visto il fiore del banano...originalissima la ricetta...!!!Come vorremmo assaggiare questa specialità .....!!!!Kiss x 3...

  5. Si' Tamara, fiori di banano, tolti i petaly piu' duri come per i carciofi, e poi il cuore tagliato e bagnato col limone seno' diventa nero, e marinato con sale, zucchero, peperoncino, coriandolo, aglio e menta vietnamita, per 4 ore, poi aggiunta una patata bollita a tocchetti, e servito nei petali. Veramente buono!

  6. @ Red, even more funny if you think that the Kiwi blog is written by an Italian!

  7. Your creativity sometimes amazes me. This is something I would love to try. It really looks interesting. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  8. Stupenda!!!! e come faro' mai ad assaggiare una meraviglia del genere.? :-) con tutte le meraviglie che vedo mi dai voglia di raggiungerti.

    ps: l'indirizzo del mio blog é cambiato, ho avuto qualche problemino ora é tutto a posto. Un 'abbraccio!

  9. How exotic! Must be really tasty. Thank you for sharing

  10. How amazing, interesting and beautiful! I've never seen a banana flower in real life...only on your blog. I hope someday to be able to taste a salad like that! Good luck with the ripening bananas too.

  11. Ale grazie! e interessantissima. li ho avuti per anni in giardino senza saper che si mangiassero. adesso la prossima volta che vado da mamma e papa in Costa Rica...senza dubbio la provero!


  12. @ Patrizia, controllo, ancheperche' ti ho sul blogroll.

    @ Eleonora, infatti girando sul net non ho visto nessuna ricetta Sudamericana, solo ricette asiatiche.

  13. I love to cook stirfry with them. Salad never tried, next i will.

  14. grazie Alessandra, ero venuta a leggere la spiegazione del fiore di banano, ma qui non credo di trovarli, i fiori,...
    invece per la labna, fatta come la faccio io viene certamente più buona, perché lo yogurt lo fai come vuoi tu, con il latte che preferisci, io preferisco il greco e mi faccio lo yogurt greco, con altri yogurt non viene uguale, ho provato con il kefir ma non viene, ho provato anche con il matsoni, lo yogurt del mar Caspio, ma viene diversa, secondo me, la migliore è quella fatta dallo yogurt greco....baci

  15. @ Swathi, I would be interested in your stir fry recipe :-). I saw a few curry recipes online but I would prefer a stir fry... Let me know if you post one!

    Thank you!

  16. Wow! Those look sooo cool! I am super impressed and intrigued!

  17. Che meraviglia questa insalata, mi piacerebbe proprio assaggiarla! Non avevo mai visto il fiore di banana..mia figlia l'ha piantata nel suo giardino ma non credo farà mai il fiore alle temperature del nord Italia!

  18. Ornella, ci puo' provare, deve tenerlo in un posto riparato dal vento e dargli tanto concime e terra attorno che tengano la pianta calda.

  19. io ho un0amica che sta tentando di far crescere un banano...aspetto che faccia i fiori e vado all'attacco!.. eventualmente con cosa pensi si possano sostituire? questa ricetta mi piace davvero tanto!

  20. Il sapore e' un po' come quello dei germogli di bamboo, e quelli li puoi comprare anche in scatola :-)

  21. oh sì, quelli li trovo! grazie!! :-)

  22. Ciao Alessandra, eccomi, dal Friuli alla Nuova Zelanda in un battibaleno :-)..magie del web :-)
    Se, come dici, si possono sostituire con i cuori di bamb vedrò di replicarla perchè magari i fiori di banano li troverei in qualche "parco privato" ma rischirei la "cella"..ciao :-)

  23. Ciao Alessandra this look delicious,x gloria

  24. Norma, con i germogli di bamboo non c'e' neppure bisogno di aggiungere la patata perche' non sono astringenti :-).

  25. I usually make curry out of banana flowers. My favourite ingredients to go with them is kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. I also like make them in salad with special ingredient called 'kencur', which is quite like turmeric but has clear flesh and taste very aromatic and spicy. I miss Bali now.

  26. you are fabulous lady!!beautifully you have done it and presentation looks gorgeous! i sure to try this when get a chance to have banana flowers :)

  27. Es un plato muy original,maravillosa presentación bien preparado ,lo he probado en un restaurante de lujo en buenos aires argentina,me quedé impresionda por el aroma a cúrcuma,te felicito has preparado un plato exótico que no siempre se ve,cariños y abrazos.


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