Banana blossom with coconut and chile

Banana blossom with coconut and chile

This stunning recipe from The Wicked Healthy Cook Book by chef Chad Sarno uses banana blossom - the new all natural vegan meat substitute on the block. Chad says he learnt to make it in the Philippines while revamping a menu for the Farm at San Benito. Nice work if you can get it Chad. We appreciate that the star ingredient is not very local - but sometimes you've got to try these things - and banana blossom sounds too intriguing to resist. 


Serves 2-4 

For The Banana Blossom

1 banana blossom (about 1 pound)

½ lemon

Sea salt

1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 shallots, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon julienned fresh ginger

1 Thai chile, sliced into paper-thin rounds

1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk or coconut cream

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1 lime, halved

To serve alongside

3 to 4 cups cooked rice vermicelli noodles or rice

¼ cucumber, cut into thin planks 2 inches long and ¼ inch wide

Shredded iceberg lettuce

Handful chopped fresh cilantro

2 green onions, minced

Thinly sliced Thai chiles, optional (if you like it spicy)

Lime wedges, for squeezing



1. Rinse it well, and begin removing each layer of leaves, collecting the small banana blossoms within as you separate the leaves. Discard the tougher, outer layers of leaves. Continue removing leaves, retaining the tender inner leaves and small blossoms. 

2. Stack about 5 tender banana leaves at a time and cut the stack crosswise into long thin strips. Fill a large bowl with water and a big squeeze of lemon. Drop the squeezed lemon half into the bowl. Place the strips in the lemon water. Discard the small blossoms, but if you don’t mind tedious work, remove the inedible stigma and small petal from each blossom as shown. For very tiny blossoms, simply pinch off and discard the tips. When all the small blossoms are cleaned, chop them and add to the lemon water. Add about 2 tablespoons salt and massage the leaves and blossoms under the water, pressing them between your fingers for a few minutes. This process removes bitterness, and the water should become discolored. Drain off the water, then fill the bowl with fresh water, lemon juice, and salt. Repeat massaging and pressing under the water for a few minutes more. Drain off the water and pat the leaves and blossoms dry. This unique ingredient is now ready to be cooked.

3. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil to evenly cover the bottom, then add the shallots and stir until they are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chile, and prepped banana blossom. Shake the pan to spread evenly and sauté until the blossom takes on a bit of color and softens, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring to avoid burning the garlic.

4. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk, tamari, and ½ teaspoon salt. Continue stirring until the coconut milk reduces slightly in volume. (Stirring helps keep the coconut milk from separating.) Remove from the heat and squeeze in the juice from one lime half. Taste and add more tamari, salt, and/or lime juice as needed.


5: Cook the noodles or rice and divide among 2 to 4 noodle bowls.

6: Ladle in the coconut banana blossom mixture, and add cucumber, lettuce, cilantro, green onions, sliced chile (if using), and lime wedges for squeezing.

This awesome recipe comes from The Wicked Healthy Cookery Book by Chad & Derek Sarno and David Joachim. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved. To order the book visit Waterstones website

Thrifty Feasts II - Recipe Book

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Thrifty Feasts - Recipe Book

Learn how to shop and eat for less with recipes that are good for people and planet.

Thrifty Feasts Recipe Book

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