Banana Blossom: The greatest new food star you never knew about
We know what you’re thinking: banana what?! What the heck’s banana blossom? Well, we’ll tell you. It’s a flower.
We know, we know – there’s a new meat alternative on the market almost every other week. First it was beetroot (a staple in our The Beet Goats On sandwich), then jackfruit (found in our Dirty Jack wrap, haven’t you heard?), but now everyone’s going bananas (sorry) for banana blossom, including us.
The new food star hails from south-east Asia and we reckon you could easily confuse it for an artichoke. It’s traditionally used in south-Asian and Indian cuisines and can be eaten raw as its chunky, flaky texture makes an ideal substitute for fish. You can also find it in soups, stews and curries as a main dish or enjoy it steamed with dip and a yummy side.
We thought we’d do the hard work for you and tell you exactly how to prepare it and cook a curry that’d impress even Gordon Ramsay:
Our tips and tricks:
- Slice off the bottom and peel off the dull-coloured tough outer petals until you reach the non-dull ones. (You may also see clusters of teeny, tiny baby bananas! These are called “stick fruit.” The yellow ones are edible, but throw out any brown ones.)
- When cut up, banana blossoms oxidize and turn brown super-fast, so work fast or rub lemon juice on the cut parts.
Banana Blossom Curry
You will need:
- 1lb banana blossom
- 2 tablespoons oil (of your choice)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (white works best)
- 1 cup thick coconut milk
- 2 cups accompaniment (white/brown/cauliflower rice)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the blossom in two lengthways, then slice the blossom thinly
- Put the slices in a bowl, sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt, rubbing it well. Leave for 10-15 minutes, squeeze out juices, rinse under cold water and squeeze dry
- Heat oil in a wok or frying pan and sauté onion and garlic until golden brown
- Add the tomato and stir for 3 minutes
- Throw in the banana blossom and vinegar and bring to the boil, simmering for 5 minutes
- Add salt and pepper as required
- Cook until blossom is tender, then stir in coconut milk and remove from heat
- Serve with rice
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