Thai style Banana Blossom Salad


I first saw these purple beauties in Delhi's CR park, a few years back. Almost immediately I bought it, without knowing what can be done with it! Luckily, our Bengali cook, knew lots of ways of cooking it and she proceeded to make mochar ghonto with it. Now all I gathered about the cooking process is that the ghonto, took many ghantas to prepare. Since I have never understood the point in slaving for hours in the kitchen just to make one small bowl of sabzi, this pretty vegetable did not make an appearance in my kitchen again.

Not very sure of my spellings, but its called vazhapoo in tamil, mochar in bengali , kele ka phool in hindi and hua plee in thai.

Many years later, when we tried a thai salad called yum hua plee, we were amazed at the lovely crunchy texture and I knew I had to make it atleast once. I was delighted when I found out that this salad literally takes minutes to put together, as preparing it is almost as easy as slicing onions, without the tears!

This little salad, in its various avatars is extremely popular throughout SE Asia, but the ones that we make most often are a spunky Thai style and a milder Filipino rendition, which I have learnt from Jocelyn, our Filipino helper.

The generic name for Thai salads is yum, and yummy they are! Most Thai salads are a delicate balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy , and this one is no different. What makes this one unusual though, is the texture and the slightly astringent taste of the banana blossom, which many find similar to artichokes ! To make it vegetarian, I have substituted tofu for the chicken that is typically added, but you can just as well add paneer, or even make it with only banana blossom.

For this recipe, we do not need the baby buds, or the florets, which contain the bitter stamen, and therefore prepping it is really easy. Simply pluck away the tough, purple coloured outer leaves till or bracts until the inner, paler portion is revealed. Cut it lengthwise into two, and slice thinly. While you prepare the other ingredienyts, soak it in water to which some lime juice/ white vinegar has been added to eliminate any bitterness and prevent discolouration. Drain when ready to use. The florets can be used to make delicious paruppu usli , with some excellent step by step instrunctions by Suganya.

Update: Since some of us are not quite sure of what part to use, I have added a link to prema's excellent post on preparing banana bud. We slice the white bud in the picture, which she has used whole. Thank you Prema for an excellent recipe!

Yum Hua Plee
Serves 2
1 banana blossom, prepared as above
3 shallots /small red onion, sliced
½ firm, small tomato, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
½ cup baked/fried tofu/paneer (optional)
Dressing:
Mix together:
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp light soy sauce/ salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chilli paste
1 tbsp coconut milk/cream

Garnish:
cilantro, spring onions and fried shallots

Drain the banana blossom and toss with the dressing. Add tofu/paneer if using. Garnish with some cilantro,spring onion greens and crispy fried shallots .
Enjoy!

34 comments:

  1. I have seen lot of Keralites cook with Banana flower like Thoran. I have never used it though. Looks gorgeous DB!

    Have a wonderful weekend. Happy Father's day to your daddy!:)

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  2. Thanks Asha!
    A very Happy Father's day to you & your family too!

    My little boy came back with a cap saying "I Love Dad" that he made in his pre-school for father's day. P was so delighted that he took us out to lunch:)

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  3. What a great recipe with banana flowers! looks very tempting.. I sure will try this soon..

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  4. Wow that looks good love the way you hav presented it.

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  5. My mom usually made vadais with this or a vegetable fry! Had no idea that there was a Thai salad featuring this... looks good.

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  6. wow, this salad looks so awesome! lovely pics too. Have a great weekend.

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  7. i made something with banana blossom once and it was too bitter. i guess i used those bitter little sprouty flowers. next time i'll try it like this.

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  8. So. Beautiful. Plus I am told that banana flower is full of iron! Quite lovely!

    Smita

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  9. Lovely recipe! And the pictures are beautiful too.

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  10. OMG this salad looks killer, great recipe, lovely presentation as well. I want dem right now :P Keep rocking!!

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  11. I'd love to get my hands on this if I can find one around! that looks nutritive and beautiful rashmi!:)

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  12. Looks good, anything Thai I'm up for it..that's one cuisine I simply love next only to Indian :) Nicely presented.

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  13. WOW.... This is a very different recipe of salad. Never tried this salad before. Love to make vada out of banana blossom. YUM!

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  14. We cook a lot this banana flower :) "Vazhai poo vadai" is famous, and curry too , but the salad is a wonderful way to eat healthy

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  15. Lovely recipe I loved the picures.

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  16. This is amazing dear... bery nice recipe...:) I dont think we get it here...:) and u were right when u sad vazhapoo..:D

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  17. Happycook, laavanya, uma, vani and bharti:
    Thank you so much!

    bee, sujatha:
    i know what you mean.. this one is not bitter in the least, slight acidic aftertaste maybe, which also the creamy, spicy & sour dressing covers up beautifully. use only the white inner bud, which is almost palm sized.

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  18. smita, manasi:
    i've also heard that it is high fibre and iron rich,although those merits are hardly on my mind when i make this!

    madhavi:
    glad you like it:)

    namratha:
    absolutely! after indian ,we adore thai food too !

    sukanya, cham, shubha:
    I love those vadas, but only when somebody else makes them for me !

    pearls of east:
    good to hear from you..are you already in Qingdao?

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  19. That looks lovely. Very nice presentation too. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. lovely presentation..We make a stir-fry or thoran with this...

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  21. Rashmi, that looks awesome!..we use plantain blossom in vadas or fritters..that taste great..so next time try making those..:)..but nothing like fresh ones..

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  22. You are right .. it is due to the ghantas needed to prepare 'mocha' that I have never dared to even try ... but this looks easy.Maybe I will be tempted enough now. BTW it is 'mocha' and 'mochar' is like when u say 'mocha's' or in hindi 'mocha ka'. Another new vocab ...what say? ;-)
    Pics look delicious.

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  23. Meera:
    Thank you for the nice words!

    Rachel, Srivalli:

    I've never tried thoran, vada or usli with this, even though I really-2 want to for a long time as I'm scared that I'll completely mess it up !

    sharmila:
    thanks pal! I always learn something new from you!

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  24. Vazhapoo is absolutely banned in our house because it is SOO time consuming to pick the stamen from the flowers not to mention the hands getting all stained with the juice - ugh!
    So if you didnt use the flowers, then what part of it did you use? - Looks good though!
    And yes, after Chennai didnt expect to see it in Delhi but CR park market is full of these!

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  25. I've actually started liking Banana Blossom only as recently as a few months! Been looking everywhere for easy recipes - this looks great. Thanks. Bookmarked.

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  26. miri:
    i used the palm sized white bud inside, which you get after tearing away all the purple leaves and all the tiny flowers.Have added a link with a picture of the bud in my post.

    arundathi:
    thanks..i really hope you like it:)

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  27. my MIL makes some delicious sabzi out of these flowers, but i never tried replicating it....this salad looks beautiful with that pink flower carrier....nice one :)

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  28. That looks delicious! I had banana blossom salad once at a thai place.. and had loved it. Never thought it would be so easy to prepare! now if I could only find the banana blossom here....Thanks for a great recipe

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  29. bhags:
    fewer dishes to wash ;)

    vandy:
    i know, even i was surprised at how delicious and unbitter it was ! And it IS easy. Hope you find the banana blossoms to try this out:)

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  30. sahi presentation haan ... and fundu name... pehli baar suna hai aisa... but this loks way too tempting yaar...

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  31. We always buy the Banana Flower and I know only one recipe with it.So I am thrilled to see yours and can't wait to try it.You have a lovely blog.Thanks for visiting mine.:)

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  32. hai there....
    I love balinese style banana blossom salad with extra thinly julienned ginger torch flower....

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  33. I just tried this recipe and it was FABULOUS. I blogged about it but my pictures aren't nearly as good as yours. Thanks for posting it!

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