Sunday, June 7, 2015

Banana Blossom and Chicken Stir-Fry


Click here to print the recipe

Banana blossom aka banana heart aka banana flower, is not an ingredient you would normally find in your local grocery store. But if you live near an Asian grocery store, you might see some fresh ones in the produce section. A widely popular ingredient in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisine, banana blossom's mild flavor works wonderfully in salad, stir-fry, or curry.

The knowledge to prepare banana blossom for the dish is somehow crucial. Make sure you follow every step, so you don't end up with discolored blossom that leaves unpleasant bitter taste in your mouth.
If you do it right, this is the delicious dish that might make more than one appearance at your dining table.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana blossom
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fermented shrimp paste (if not available, substitute with 1 tablespoon fish sauce)
  • 2 red JalapeƱos, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, bruised
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  • In a large bowl, mix cold water and white vinegar, and set aside. Peel the tough purple outer layers of banana blossom until you reach the pinkish-creamy color part of the blossom. Split the blossom in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise as thinly as possible. Transfer banana blossom slices immediately to the bowl with vinegar water. Soak the blossom for 1 hour, up to 2 hours. This process will prevent the blossom from turning brown, and also will get rid of the bitterness. Drain  and rinse with cold water before cooking.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, shrimp paste, JalapeƱos, and lemongrass into the skillet and cook for a few minutes. Add ground chicken to the skillet, breaking up the chunks with the wooden spatula while stirring. Continue cooking until the chicken is crumbly and no longer pink.
  • Add banana blossom and chicken stock into the chicken mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the blossom is tender and the stock is absorbed. 
  • Serve warm with steamed rice, if desired.


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