We have a new product at Village Greens and it’s something I’ve been excited to try for a while. It’s banana blossom!
My husband, who is now vegan, used to always choose fish and chips whenever we were out for family meals. The first birthday I knew him I asked him what he would like me to cook for him for his birthday tea he said fish fingers and chips! When I heard there was a substitute in the plant world that could come pretty close to the real thing I couldn’t wait to surprise him with it!
Banana blossom, also known as a banana heart, is a purple tear shaped flower that grows at the end of a cluster of bananas. It is not a new ingredient but it has been traditionally used in south-east Asian and Indian cooking simply as a plant rather than a meat substitute. It’s chunky, flaky texture, however, and its neutral flavour has made it a great substitute for fish.
I give credit to the fab site www.elephantasticvegan.com where I found the recipe and it was pretty easy! I felt a bit guilty about how easy really.
-1 can banana blossoms in brine
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon dill (I used parsley, not a fan of dill)
-1 1/2 tablespoons crushed nori (I used double.)
-1 cup flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 pinch turmeric (I added a little more for a more golden colour)
-1 tablespoon caper brine (or sub with pickle juice)
-1 tablespoon pickle juice (I subbed with more caper brine)
-2 teaspoons lemon juice
-1/2 cup sparkling water
Rinse and drain the banana blossoms.
Combine the flour mixture ingredients in one bowl and the batter ingredients in another bowl.
In a frying pan heat the frying oil. You'll want enough so that the battered banana blossoms can swim in the oil. (I’ll admit I’m not used to deep frying and was mildly horrified at the thought so didn’t quite have it swimming….more like wading!)
First coat each piece of banana blossom in the flour mixture and then dip in the batter. Lower them in the oil and fry for about 4-5 minutes until golden brown, flipping once.
Transfer the fried banana blossoms onto a kitchen paper to remove excess oil. Serve with all of the usual accompaniments: tartar sauce, chips, mushy peas, lemon wedge etc. The recipe suggested that fresh dill be added on top but again, I ditched the dill in favour of parsley.
It really was delicious and it got my husband’s sincere approval! We had way too much for the both of us so I heated up a piece the following day and had it on a sandwich. Lovely comfort food! I’ve included a side view of it so you can see just how flaky the texture was although my husband thought it also could resemble chicken very well. As I mentioned, it’s not just a good meat substitute it can be used in salads, soups and in a stir fry too.
I hope if you try it you enjoy it, we’d love to hear how you have used it in your cooking. Thanks for reading!