For some, cooking banana flower can be messy if you slice the flower before it is steamed or boiled. My recipes save you from all the messy steps. Before touching on the recipes, just a few things we need to know about the banana flower.
The banana flower is the blossom hanging at the end of the stem or inflorescence. It consists of layers of crimson colour bracts with rows of yellow florets lying in between the bracts. Each floret has a plastic-like stamen with a black and hard stigma at the end. The banana flower is the male part hanging at the end of the clusters of bananas.
It is called Jantung Pisang in Malay.
Only flowers of pisang keling, pisang otel, pisang kipas, pisang kapok and pisang hutan are used. Flowers cut from other type of bananas are too bitter. Ornamental banana flowers are small and not edible. Notice that their flowers pointing upward so as the wild banana flowers. The wild banana flowers are big and edible. Both are beautiful flowers. Banana flower is rich in potassium as shown in the table at the end of this page.
In some recipes, you are required to peel the outer mini petals and the stigmas from the florets one by one, a preparation process not practiced in Sarawak for that matter.
Shown here is another way of preparing banana flower. Steam the banana flower for 30 minutes prior to cooking. This is to avoid the bracts from being oxidized and turn black due to contact with air after cutting. Slice the flower only after it is steamed.
Preparing the banana flower for the recipe
- Peel off some outer bracts to be used as ‘plates’ for serving the dish. Wash the bracts carefully and dip dry.
- Steam the whole blossom for at least 30 minutes or grill the flower for 20 minutes until the outer bracts are nicely charcoaled.
- Let cool and peel off fibrous bracts and mature florets.
- Keep only the tender bracts, undeveloped florets and the ”heart” of the flower. At this stage, the flower looks like artichoke.
Steamed banana flower is to be sliced for cooking.
Here are two recipes simplified here to share with our viewers.
Banana flower stir-fried with potatoes
- 1 banana flower
- 2 potatoes – diced
- 2 dry chillies – seeded and sliced thinly
- 2 tbs thick soya sauce
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp pepper powder
Cooking the banana flower
- Fry the diced potatoes until slightly brown.
- Add 1 cup of water and dry chillies. Simmer till the potatoes are well done.
- Add the sliced banana flower and 2 tbs of thick soya sauce.
- Finally, add 1 tsp of brown sugar and pepper powder.
- Serve in banana bracts.
Banana flower in thick soya sauce
- 1 banana flower
- 2 tbs lime juice
- 4 tbs thick soya sauce
- 3 tbs brown sugar
- 1/2 cup roasted groundnut – coarsely ground
- 1 chilli padi – seeded and thinly sliced
- Steam the banana flower for 30 minutes.
- Peel off more fibrous bracts and discard florets with plastic like stamens and stigmas.
- Slice the banana flower thinly.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together.
- Serve the dish in the selected bracts.
- Sprinkle groundnuts on top.
This dish is similar to the local kerabu, a simplified one, that is. Sliced mangoes, cucumbers and half ripen papaya can be added to the dish.
There are Indian recipes for banana flower fritters and Thai recipe for banana flower salad. Most Malays would cook Kerabu bunga pisang. Kerabu is local salad in which lime juice, coconut milk, grated coconut, spices and herbs are added to the main ingredients.
Ulam is another choice for bunga pisang. Ulam is a local dish in which the raw or blanched vegetables or fruits are served with a paste of belacan, lime juice and chillies.
Try your hands on this recipe.
It would be fun to mess around with banana flower.
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