November 2, 2010

{Travel Tuesday}: Cooking with Banana Blossoms in Vietnam

Banana Blossom (photo credit:  Ruestz)
We're currently packing our bags to San Francisco for the annual Foodbuzz Festival.  Our friend Rogelio has kindly provided this guest post on his recent honeymoon trip to Vietnam.  While on vacation, they took a cooking class (so jealous!), which provided the recipe below.  We can't wait to find the ingredients and make this for an International Party at home. Enjoy!

One of the main reasons we honeymooned in Vietnam and Cambodia was the food. We really enjoy the combination of spicy, salty, sweet and sour found in countries close to the Tropic of Cancer. We were so excited about the food that we decided to take a cooking class in Hoi An, Vietnam where we had an unusual, yet delicious salad. It was so different in fact, that I decided to write a guest post for my favorite blog (HLFD) and was happy that they liked my idea!

Found primarily throughout Asia, Banana Blossoms (also known as banana flower) grow on the end of the stem holding a cluster of bananas. They have a deep crimson color and consist of tightly packed leaves. The outer leaves are the female part while the inner, edible leaves, are the male part of the flower. It is the inner pale colored bracts that are used for food dishes.

Banana blossoms and leaves sold at the market (photo credit: Takeaway)
Banana Blossom Salad with Shrimp
Ingredients 
1 Banana Blossom (can be found in Asian/Indian markets in the US)
200 grams finely shredded carrots
50 grams peanuts
150 grams celery greens (the top part of celery that most people throw away)
3/8 cup fish sauce
1/3 c rice vinegar
hot chili peppers (adjust to taste)
1 T minced garlic 
2.5 T sugar
½ T salt
2 T roasted seasame seeds.
50 grams of Fried Shallots 
200 grams precooked Shrimp, thinly sliced
The dish! (photo credit: Rogelio Pier Martinez)
Directions:
1.  Remove many outer, colorful leaves of a Banana Blossom until you get to the yellow, softer center bracts. Chop the blossom very finely, into rings and separate into a container with water to rinse, soften and remove some of the sticky residue.

2.  Let sit for 5 minutes and drain before mixing in finely shredded carrots, peanuts, and celery greens in a bowl.

3.  Mix in a traditional Vietnamese dressing:  combine fish sauce, rice vinegar, hot chili peppers, minced garlic,  sugar, salt, and roasted sesame seeds.

4.  Add fried shallots and shrimp over the top. (skip this last step for the vegetarian version.)

4 comments:

  1. Wow, I have learnt my new ingredient for the day! What a beautiful fresh dish. I'll have to have a chat to my sister about this, seeing as she has banana trees in her yard.

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  2. ooh let me know how it goes! I'm going to have to trek out to Queens in search of these guys...

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  3. Thanks Christine! We're supposed to arrive at SFO at 11AM, just when the parade starts so I'm crossing my fingers that we'll get to see something! If not, I'm just happy to be there to feel the positive vibes in the city!

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