About Banana Flowers
How To Harvest and Eat
Banana Flower Growing Underneath a Cord of Bananas
My older daughter was recently amazed when I told her that you could eat banana flowers, so I figured I’d make a post about it. We have a lot of these in our area with our six banana trees and we do use them sometimes in cooking. The inside leaves can be eaten raw also, though you have to peel back the very fibrous dark red outside leaves. These are sometimes sold in Asian food markets in the US and are generally about the size of an American football.
To process them peel off the outside red leaves until you get to a section which has extremely under ripe bananas, as shown above. This section and those tiny bananas can be eaten raw, though they are unsurprisingly bitter and a bit too chalky for me. My mother in law liked to slice them and serve them as a garnish with spicy curry dishes such as khanom chin. You will sometimes see this offered as a fresh vegetable on a serving plate in especially curry restaurants in Thailand. The bitter flavor is complemented by spicy and especially coconut milk flavors.
We usually cut the leaves lengthwise as shown, and cut out the middle section. The remainder is thinly sliced and cooked. When banana flowers are boiled they develop a mild flavor suitable for many vegetarian dishes and a gelatanous skin forms on top of the water after cooking. I am not vegetarian right now so we have most commonly been adding this into tom yum kai (hot and sour chicken soup) which yes, does have chicken in it. The mild taste is complimented by spicy, hearty and robust flavors. I suspect it would be good in a lot of beef dishes for those who aren’t worried about it being vegan. Coconut milk curries also compliment banana flowers very well.
I found this vegetarian recipe online which looks interesting. Indonesian banana flower curry. I’m experimenting with a coconut milk vegan tom yum kai for next time. I still haven’t made it yet, so I’m not going to vouch for it being any good.
To happy eating!