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This is a unique Singaporean dish from chef Chris Yeo at Straits Restaurant in San Jose, California. Banana blossoms are on the end of the stem holding a cluster of bananas. You should be able to find it in your local Asian food markets.
Banana Blossom Salad
- 1 banana flower, blossom about 1 lb (finely sliced green cabbage may be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 8 ounces cooked chicken breasts, cut into fine strips
- 2 Asian pears, cut into fine strips (any type of apple may be substituted)
- 6 tablespoons ginger, peeled and cut into fine strips
- 1 cup rau ram, loosely packed and thinly sliced (Vietnamese coriander or regular mint)
- 1 cup cilantro, loosely packed and thinly sliced
- 1 cup Thai basil, loosely packed and thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup peanuts, ground and toasted, for garnish
- 1⁄4 cup shallot, rings fried, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons mint
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili paste
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1⁄3 cup lime juice
- 1⁄4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- Place all salad dressing ingredients into a blender and mix until sugar is dissolved; set aside.
- Remove the 4 outer leaves of the banana blossom to use as a garnish; cut off the bottom core and the tip.
- Using a sharp knife, start at the top of the blossom and slice crosswise into the thinnest possible strips.
- As you move down, you will eventually encounter what looks like tiny bananas; remove all the leaves and discard the baby banana pieces.
- Stack the leaves, roll them into a cylinder, and continue slicing.
- Place the blossom shreds into a bowl of cold water and add the 2 Tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar to prevent the leaves from turning brown.
- Use your fingers to separate the slices into rings and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Drain and rinse once, but keep in water until ready to use; drain again when ready to use.
- Once you have prepared the banana blossoms, place chicken in a bowl and add half the dressing; set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add the banana blossom shreds, chicken, and remaining salad ingredients, including the remaining salad dressing. Toss thoroughly and arrange on the reserved outer banana blossom leaves; garnish with ground peanuts and fried shallots; serve immediately.