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You can’t go too far in Koh Samui without happening across a banana tree. Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations and can be eaten as they are, deep fried, baked in their skin, steamed in glutinous rice or made into jam. Bananas are a popular filling for pancakes and smoothies and can be eaten as a tasty snack, dried or dehydrated. What is less well known is that the deep purple colored banana flower can also be eaten. Banana hearts are used as a vegetable in Southeast Asian cuisine and can be eaten raw, steamed with dips or cooked in soups and curries. The flavor of the banana flower resembles that of an artichoke and, as with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible. Banana flowers can be cut off the tree (providing you own it) or can be very cheaply brought in local fruit and vegetable markets. If you would like to try creating a delicious dish with a banana flower then try this fairly simple recipe.
1 banana flower
1kg of medium sized potatoes
100grams seasame seed
1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
3 medium sized green chilies
A pinch of turmeric power
Fresh mint for garnish
Remove the bracts of the flower and pick out the mini bananas. Discard the parts of the flower where the bananas have started to develop. Save the purple bracts to decorate. Remove the bracts and developing fruit until the color changes to a pale hue. Her e you will see that the flowers are now on very tiny ovaries (these eventually develop into bananas)these are the parts you will want to use for the salad. Soak the flowers in water. Pick each flower and remove the pistil and tiny transluscent bract like structure and discard. This may take some time but it is worth the effort. Wash and then boil the flowers for ten minutes. Drain the water and squeeze the residual water out of the flowers. Spread the boiled flowers on paper towels to dry.
Boil the potatoes and cut into half inch cubes. In a wok dry roast the sesame seeds, then dry roast the peanuts. Grind in a blender until you are left with a fine consistency. Mix the banana flowers with the potatoes. Add the ground seed and peanut. Add salt to taste and the lime juice.
Heat up the oil in a pan until the oil starts to smoke. Add the fenugreek seed, chilies and turmeric. Stir until the turmeric is black and then quickly pour the mixture on top of the banana and potato and serve in the purple banana flower leaves.