Banana blossoms are treated like a vegetable in many Asian cuisines and have a slightly bitter flavour. The creamy, inner bracts are crunchy and take on flavours of the dish, making them perfect in this Thai banana blossom salad.
- 2 banana blossoms
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 20 large cooked tiger prawns, peeled with tails intact, cleaned
- 3 spring onions, white part only, thinly sliced
- 60 g (½ cup) fresh coconut, shredded (see Note), lightly toasted
- 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
- fried Asian eschalots (see Note), to serve
- 1½ tbsp dried shrimp (see Note)
- 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp grated palm sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp nahm prik pao (see Note)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) settled coconut cream
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make dressing, process dried shrimp in a small food processor until finely chopped. Combine with remaining ingredients.
Remove purplish-red outer bracts from banana blossoms. Discard flower-like clusters and thinly slice inner bracts widthwise on the diagonal. Place in a bowl filled with 2 litres water, lemon juice and 1 tbsp salt, to prevent browning. Halve banana blossom cores, slice on the diagonal and add to acidulated water.
Drain banana blossoms and place in a bowl. Add prawns, spring onions, coconut, coriander and dressing, and toss gently to combine. Scatter with eschalots to serve.
• Fresh coconuts are from supermarkets. Use a coconut scraper to shred the flesh. Or, use frozen shredded coconut, from Asian food shops. Defrost before using in salads and stir-fries or use frozen for curries and soups.
• Fried Asian eschalots are available from selected supermarkets and Asian food shops.
• Dried shrimp is available from Asian food shops. Leftover dried shrimp will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 months.
• Nahm prik pao is a roasted Thai chilli paste from Asian food shops. It is sometimes labelled 'chilli paste in/with soybean oil'.
Photography by Janyon.
As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.