Ganesh Mani Pradhan & Son
The Nursery

Banana flower Salad

Attention:  While working with a banana inflorescence please use gloves. The cut surfaces exudes a  sap which turns black on exposure to air. It will stick on to your hands and also table tops and linen. This sap is harmless but takes some time to get rid of.  Another way to prevent the stains on body parts is to smear cooking oil on your hands before working on the flowers.

Ingredients:

One fresh male Banana inflorescence

1 kg medium sides potatoes

100 grams Seasame seed

1 teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds 

Groundnut (peanuts)

3 medium sized Green chillies

3 tablespoon Cooking Oil

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder

Fresh mint sprigs for garnishing

Method:

Remove bracts of  male banana inflorescence and pick out the developing mini bananas. These parts of the flower where the bananas have started to develop are to be discarded. Save these large colorful bracts to decorate the serving dish later on.  Remove the  bracts and developing fruit till the bract colour changes to a pale hue. You will notice that the flowers are now on very tiny ovaries that will eventually develope into bananas. These are the flowers to save for the salad. Once you have gone through the process and gathered all the mature flowers soak them in water in a bowl. Pick each flower and remove the pistil and tiny transluscent  bract like structure ( marked in pink in the photographs ). Discard these.  This is quite a time consuming job but well worth the effort. Wash the prepared flowers in clean water and boil till tender (approx 10 minutes). Throw away the water and gently squeeze the cooked banana flowers till  all remaining water is drained. Spread the boiled banana flowers on paper towels to dry further.

Boil potatoes and skin and cut into half inch cubes.

Dry roast seasame seed and peanuts separately in a thick bottomed wok ( a heavy frying pan will do)  and dry  grind (separately) in a food processor. The grinding should be to a fine consistency. While roasting these seeds make sure not to over do it and burn the seeds as this will give a burnt taste to the final salad.

Mix the cubed potatoes and boiled banana flowers in a dish. Add ground seasame seed and peanut, salt to taste and lime juice and mix well.

In a small pan add cooking oil and heat well till the oil starts smoking. Add fenugreek seed, chopped chillies and turmeric powder. Stir till fenugreek seed turns black. Quickly pour this mixture on top of the salad and mix well.The Banana Flower Salad is now ready to serve.

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A popular French recipe for jugged hare starts thus: first go shoot a hare. For  a Banana Flower Salad: first go locate a Banana  inflorescence

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Wash the  whole inflorescence in running water and gently peel off the outer bracts and remove. Save these bracts for decorative use. We will be using these bracts for serving the salad.

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The first few layers of bracts cover  tiny developing bananas. These are too well developed to use in our salad. Note  cut end of  inflorescence which exudes a  sap.

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These immature fruit if allowed to develop would have matured into sweet bananas. Discard these. They add a bitter taste to the prepared salad.

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Keep on peeling the bracts. The color of the bract will change to a pale hue and the flowers will become more tender as you reach the inner part. These flowers  are just right for our salad

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This is what the flower will look like. The two flower parts marked in pink dots are to be snapped and removed entirely from the base. These flower parts even in this very tender stage are tough and will not cook well.

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This is an easy method of holding the  flower with all  edible parts between forefinger, middle finger and thumb. This places the flower parts  to be removed (marked with pink dots) in a clear position to be snapped off.

This cold Banana Flower Salad can be aesthetically served on a dish lined with the colourful inflorescence bracts.  The final arrangement is left to your imagination. salad_served_on_bracts.jpg

         

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