Chicken salad and banana blossom, or Yam kai hua plee

Banana tree is a blessing for Thai food. We use all of it: the fruits enter in the composition of many desserts, we also cook shoots in curry or soups and the leaves are used to wrap small pieces of food that are then steamed or grilled. Here's a recipe to cook the blossom. Great flavours and beautiful presentation guaranteed!

Serves 4

1 banana blossom

1 lime

20 g dry chillies

20 g galangal, chopped

50 g shallots, sliced

400 g chicken, finely sliced

2 teaspoons shrimp paste

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Pinch salt

6 sprigs long-leaf coriander, chopped

12 mint leaves, torn

2 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped

Prepare the banana blossom :

Squeeze the lime in a large bowl and fill with water. Peel away the outer leaves (you can keep them for presentation, they are too tough to be eaten). Remove the white strips (baby bananas !). Cut off the tip and the end of the blossom then quarter the blossom (cut 2 times lengthwise). Then cut in 1 cm slices.

Immerse the sliced leaves in water with lime.

Pound galangal and half of the shallots to achieve a smooth paste. Add shrimp paste and pound one more minute.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Over medium heat, roast the chillies (about one minute). Then remove, drain on kitchen paper and set aside. Stir-fry the galangal-shallots-shrimp paste until it starts to release the flavors. Stir-in chicken and sliced banana leaves (drained). Add seasoning (sugar, fish sauce, salt) and cook for about 5 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasoning and remove from the heat.

Add roasted chillies, coriander, mint, lemongrass and the remaining shallots. Mix well and serve with sticky rice.

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