Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is that a Banana Salad in your Pocket?


Dr. Food and I were going to a party at one of his coworkers houses (Waving to my new friends that probably won't read this and if they do they might never talk to Dr. Food again because his wife is crazy. You know the crazy wife of your coworker? YES you DO! She is the one that talks just a LITTLE too loudly and who might have a problem with personal boundries of others). Wait, what was I talking about before I started describing this "Coworkers Wife" scenario? Oh yeah...

We wanted to bring something different so we decided on a Mango Rice Salad (I have posted the recipe before but will do so again) and something else that we had never made before. I was perusing (love that word) cookbooks and found something that really caught my interest. It was a Banana Flower Salad.


The banana flower can be found in Asian grocery stores. I have no problem finding them around here. What was harder to find was Vietnamese Balm I finally did find it and it is my new favorite herb. It tastes like lemongrass and mint at the same time. If you can't find it I am sure that Thai basil and mint would work. I wrote down the name of this Vietnamese balm (Kinh gioi) on a paper and Linda my manicurist laughed and laughed. What? I am so not bourgeois. Say you are sorry for calling me that.

I then went to the asian market and showed another customer the paper with the word on it. He looked at me like I had a mental problem. But just at that minute I shrieked EUREKA! because I found it.


This salad is a bit time consuming but I have to tell you that it is well worth it.


Dried shrimp goes into this dish. Here they are being reconstituted. Maybe I should keep them as a new pet like sea monkeys.


I believe the salad was a hit because when I last looked it was all gone.


So, really the week has been chicken fish chicken fish... I made this Tilapia that tasted like Doritos. Uh huh, uh huh! Great recipe and not too fattening either. Well that is what the recipe said!


Also made asparagus.


Guess who I am going to go see in two days! Wonder what he wants me to cook for him.

Banana Blossom Salad
from Into the Vietnaese Kitchen - Andrea Nguyen

2 Tbl distilled white vinegar
1 banana blossom, 3/4 to 1 lb
1/2 lb bean sprouts, blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds and drained well.
2 tsp salt
1 boneless pork loin chop or boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 1/4lb
1 Tbl sesame seeds, toasted
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 Tbl dried shrimp, soaked in hot water to cover for 5 minutes to soften, drained, and finely chopped
1/3 C unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1/3 C lightly packed Vietnamese balm leaves, cut into thin strips
4 to 5 Tbl fresh lime juice (2 or 3 limes)

1. Fill large bowl with cold water to depth of 3" and add vinegar. Place the bowl near the cutting board. Remove and discard any worn or soft outer bracts from the banana blossom and any exposed flowers underneath. Using a sharp knife, cut off and discard the protruding stem at the bottom. Halve the blossom lengthwise. Make a V-shaped cut in the middle of each half to remove the solid off-white center core.

Place each half, cut side down, and cut it crosswise into half circles 1/16 to 1/8" thick. As you cut, pause occasionally to deposit the pieces into the vinegar water. (There should be enough water to cover the cut pieces. Add more water if necessary.) After cutting the entire blossom, let the pieces soak for 10 minutes.

2. Pour off the water from the bowl and replace it with warm water. Use your hands to massage the blossom gently for a minute. When the water turns cloudy, drain the blossom in a colander, and rinse well under warm running water. Pick up handfuls of the blossom pieces, squeeze them to expel excess water, and put them in a large bowl. (Taste piece of the blossom. If it tastes too astringent, discard about 1/4 of the cut rounds of flowers) Add the bean sprouts and set aside.

3. Fill a small saucepan half full with water, add 1 tsp of the salt, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Drop in the pork or chicken. When the water starts bubbling at the edges of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and cover tightly. Let stand for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut pork into matchsticks (or shred chicken). Add to banana blossom and bean sprouts.

4. In mortar, crush the sesame seeds with the remaining 1 tsp salt and sugar. Add to the salad along with the dried shrimp, peanuts, and Vietnamese balm. Toss well to distribute ingredients evenly. Add lime juice starting with 4 Tbl. Toss well, taste, and adjust if needed with more lime juice, salt, and sugar.

NOTE: I followed the recipe exactly and LOVED it. I think you all need to run out and buy this cookbook. It is fantastic.

Mango and Jasmine Rice Salad
Los Angeles Times but given to me by Kay Hartman

Printable Version

1 cup jasmine rice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno chile, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup peeled and diced mango
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Sliced cucumbers
Tomato wedges

Cook rice according to package directions. Let stand, uncovered,
until cooled.

Meanwhile whisk olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno and salt until
blended. Add to rice. Add mango, red onion and cilantro. Toss to
blend and serve at room temperature.

Garnish the salad with sliced cucumbers and wedges of tomato.

Dorito Tasting Tilapia aka Parmesan Tilapia
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Season fish with anything you would like. I used salt and pepper and a rub I had laying around that had a cajun flavor. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.


  1. I love banana flower , and can;t tell you how happy I am to find this recipe. I cook mine with chicken..http://www.thecolorsofindiancooking.com/2009/09/heres-where-i-go-bananas.html but now I must try the shrimp!

  2. Everyone at Jim's work knows I am that "wife", the rice salad yum!, that fish looks great but I hate Doritos (I think I'm the only one in the world) thanks for showing me another book that I must buy and I love you that's it.

  3. Deanchristopher90210June 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Looks simply exotic and yummy, but a bit to challenging for my patience and my ever-shriveling attention span. So instead I'll just get a couple of lamb shanks, spritz them with extra virgin olive oil (what does that mean -- unpicked olives only caressed lightly rather than squeezed?), crush some live garlic and toss them into a nice hot oven while I uncork the red. 

  4. Deanchristopher90210June 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Looks simply exotic and yummy, but a bit too challenging for my patience and my ever-shriveling attention span. So instead I'll just get a couple of lamb shanks, spritz them with extra virgin olive oil (what does that mean -- unpicked olives only caressed lightly rather than squeezed?), crush some live garlic and toss them into a nice hot oven while I uncork the red. Like

  5. Yum! That sounds fine to me.

  6. Kath,
    This also has chicken in it.

  7. There's no way I could eat that salad with all those little eyeballs staring at me. The fact that I wouldn't be able to find a banana blossom or Vietnamese balm, let alone the dried shrimp (unless I can use the stuff in the pet store) has nothing to do with it.