Banana Blossoms

Banana Blossoms are also known as Banana Hearts, Banana Flowers and a host of other names.

I am lucky enough to have a huge banana plant growing in my front garden, and better still, we all get to eat the blossoms once the fruits have emerged. Removing the blossom from under the cluster (the fruits) also helps the bananas grow faster as the blossom is no longer there to take the water, hence allowing the fruits to absorb more.

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Underneath the outer crimson layer are the softer leaves.

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Under the softer layer (bracts) you can find the male flower stems.

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These are also eaten and used as a garnish for such dishes as Larbs and Nhems.

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Dissecting the rest of the vegetable shows the inner bracts.

When exposed to oxygen for a period, the vegetable starts to change colour, therefore it has to be cut and treated as soon as possible.

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The blossom is cut and finely chopped. The male flowers are left whole.

In order to stop the discolouration of the chopped blossom, it is soaked in a mixture of chilled water and lime juice.

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When ready to use, excess water is shaken off and they are added to our dish, in this case, a batch of Larb Duck.

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Once the blossoms have been added and mixed through, it is joined by the rest of the ingredients.

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The flowers are used as a garnish.

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The recipe for our Duck Larb can be found here.

Eating the blossoms raw can leave your mouth dry with a somewhat bitter taste, however when enjoyed with other dishes, especially Larbs, the flavours and texture changes and becomes pleasant.

The blossoms can also be cooked in boiling water which results in a taste similar to artichokes, and can be treated as such.

Blossoms are available from many Asiatic stores, but if you have a friend with a banana plant, just ask them…. :biggrin:

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5 thoughts on “Banana Blossoms

  1. Hola Seeharhed, I hope that you find the recipe to your liking, all Larbs are great, and the one made from Duck is one of my (and the whole teams) favourites!

  2. Not all banana flowers can be eaten. I believe only 2 types are commonly eaten. If unsure, buy them. The other varieties are not  poisonous, merely more astringent or less tasty – I am reliably told…….
     

  3. Hi Vienne,
     
    Is the banana blosson crucial to the Larb dish?  I am writing a recipe for the UK market and I do not think we can buy banana blossom, so we need to replace it with something perhaps.  Is the blossom 100% needed in the dish?  Is there anything else that we might be able to use instead?
     
    Thanks and great website!  As I am at alistairwilliams.com/aroundtheworldtravel keep up the good work of promoting Laos excellent world standard food! 
     
    PS We imported Makkhan to create some unique dishes to try out on our friends 😉

  4. Hi Alan and Al, and welcome to Laocook.
    There are many ways to prepare Banana Blossoms (aka Banana Hearts), if they are to be eaten raw, they should be soaked in water before hand, but its not required if you like the bitter taste (which some do). They can also be cooked and used in stews.
    I prefer to eat the “raw small bananas” which can be found in between the leaves, though not on its own, its usually very nice with a spoonfull of Larb or Goi.
    The blossom is not crucial to the larb recipe, in fact there are many different types of larb, and every household seems to have their own unique version.
    Back in the UK, our home never added shredded Lime Leaves or Banana Blossom.
    In the kitchen here is Spain, some of the cooks add Lemongrass (though I dont really like it), and some add deep fried Lime Leaves.
    It all depends on how you want your larb to turn out. Though IMHO, the only thing that cannot be left out is Mint and Shallots.
     
     
     
     

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