The winner of May theme “Flower” on Facebook What Sha Cooking is Jana Steinhagen with Banana Flower ‘Boat’ Salad!
The banana flower is the flower of the banana in which can be found in Asian and Indian markets. It is considered to be a good source of vitamins A and C, believed to be beneficial as a lactating agent, and is also believed to help relieve painful menstruation. It is a large, dark purple-red blossom that grows from the end of a bunch of bananas. The banana flower is used in several Asian and tropical cuisines as a vegetable. It is known in Japan as banana no tsubomi, in Thailand as dok kluai, in Indonesia as jantung pisang, in China as shang chao fua, in Sri Lanka as kehel mal, and in India as kere kafool. The words “banana flower” are variously translated as “banana blossom,” “banana heart,” due to its physical resemblance to that organ, or “plantain blossom.”
Once the tougher, darker outer leaves are pulled away, the paler and more tender inner leaves are used in a number of dishes. A fresh, tender banana flower may be sliced and served raw. It is also served simmered in soup or fried with thin noodles, added to meat stews, stir-fries, soups, and rice or noodle combinations. It is also used in cold salads, with the salad mixture presented to the diner in one of the large purple-red outer covering/leaves.
When choosing a banana flower, select one that is firm and fresh looking, with no wilting. The outer covering should overlap tightly, have good coloring, and be free from visible blemishes or cuts. Once bought and if you have no plan to use it right away it is best to wrap it up in plastic and stored in your refrigerator. When preparing the flower it is best to use a glove or oil hand and surface counter a little. The cut ends of the banana flower leak a sap that will stain skin and other surfaces black.