What the Heck is a… Banana Flower?
Where it’s from, what it tastes like, and when to use it.
Description: A darkish purple teardrop-shaped blossom that grows on a banana tree. Also called a banana blossom and (regrettably) vazhai poo.
Flavor Profile: Crunchy, starchy, and nutty; adds texture to savory dishes
Cuisine Connection: Used in Thai, Indian, and other Asian cuisines in salads, soups, curries, and stir-fries.
Prep: Slice off the bottom stem and peel away the dull-colored tough outer petals. In between the petals are clusters of teeny, edible florets (i.e., would-be-bananas). Remove and discard the central stamen and little yellow buds from each floret, as these are bitter. As you peel, the petals will start to fade in color and become tender. Stop peeling and chop these petals finely. Have a bowl of lemon juice and water ready to place the florets and chopped petals in as cut up banana flowers oxidize quickly.
Storage: Banana-flower leaves turn brown if exposed to air for any length of time, so, if not using immediately, cover tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.