We first ate the banana flower salad in Hanoi, Vietnam. In most Asian countries the banana flower is treated like a vegetable. The taste is slightly bitter but the rich, creamy and crunchy inner leaves add a delicious taste to this salad. In case you cannot find a banana flower, no worries. You can use a green papaya or green mango instead.
Recipe for 6 Portions
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Squeeze the LEMON and separate the juice, 1/2 for the dressing and 1/2 to soak the banana flower.
Remove the outer leaves of the BANANA FLOWER and put them aside (can be used as decoration later). Remove the small blossoms in the inside between the leaves as those will not be used.
Slice the inner BANANA FLOWER leaves in very thin slices (rolling them up makes it easier) and soak them in a bowl of water. Add 1/2 of the LEMON JUICE and some VINEGAR. This way the leaves will not turn black and the bitter taste of the leaves will be removed. NOTE: You do not have to do this if you use green papaya or green mango.
Slice the CARROT and the CUCUMBER. Clean the BEAN SPROUTS. Chop the HOT MINT. NOTE: You do not need the inner bit of the cucumber as it contains too much liquid. In case you cannot find hot mint we recommend to use normal mint instead and hot chili for the dressing.
Chop the CHICKEN in small pieces and then marinate it with SALT, PEPPER and CHICKEN STOCK POWDER. Steam or fry it until well done.
For the salad dressing mix the other half of the lemon juice with 1 cup of VINEGAR, 1 cup of SUGAR and 3/4 cup of FISH SAUCE. Chop the GARLIC and SWEET CHILI. Add it to the dressing. Stir well until all sugar is dissolved.
Put the sliced BANANA FLOWER, HOT MINT, CARROT, CUCUMBER and BEAN SPROUT in a bowl and mix everything. Add the SALAD DRESSING and mix for about 5 min. Afterwards separate the liquid and add CHICKEN, PEANUTS and SESAME. Mix again.
You can use the outer BANANA FLOWER leaves to decorate a salad bowl or big plate. Then add the salad. The banana flower salad works well as a side-dish.