I am a big fan of banana blossom and this weekend, my husband surprised me with a fresh banana blossom that he found in a Thai store. Whenever we visit Sri Lanka, this is a food item that I never forget to taste. Anyways, this is what I made for lunch last Saturday. Yes, I did make steamed rice to go with it. I am really very excited to share this recipe as it is one of the best recipes I created to prepare banana blossom.
1 banana blossom (small – medium size) – finely chopped
1tsp of turmeric powder (Kaha Kudu)
2 medium sized onions (finely chopped)
1 tsp of tamarind (Siyambala)
3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 tsp of ginger (finely chopped)
1 spike of curry leaves (Karapincha)
4 cloves (Karabunati)
4-5 seeds of cardamom (Karadamungu)
½ a stick of cinnamon
3 tsp of dried red chili flakes (Kali miris kudu)
1 ½ tbsp of Maldives-fish (Umbalakada) – optional but recommended
1 ½ tsp of sugar
3 tbsp of cooking oil
Salt as needed
Water as needed
Cutting the Banana Blossom
Remember, once it’s cut, prolonged exposure to air alters its taste to a bitterness. So, to prevent this, prepare a bowl of water mixed with 1 tsp of turmeric powder and drop the pieces into it directly from the chop board. It is also recommended that you cut the banana blossom lastly after working on the rest to minimize this unwanted effect. Anyways, special properties of turmeric will prevent this transformation and will preserve its intended flavor until you start cooking.
Soak the tamarind in around 2tpsb of lukewarm water in a small bowl. After about 5 minutes, squeeze off the gel around the seeds with your fingers and discard the seeds.
In a cooking pot, once the oil is heated, start stir frying the onions. As the onions start to slightly change its color, add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and Maldives-fish and curry leaves. At this point you can add some salt as well. Normally, I start with around 3/4 tsp of salt and then adjust it later according to my taste. Now, continue stir frying further for about a minute. Then, drain and squeeze off the water of the banana blossom pieces and directly bring into the pot. Increase the heat for few minutes and continue stir frying. Once, you see the oil is starting to separate from the water, bring the heat to medium level and fry for about 5 minutes until the pieces look dehydrated and well fried. Then, lower the heat a little and add the chili flakes. Continue stir frying for around a minute and pour the prepared tamarind cream over it and mix rigorously. Finally, add sugar and mix well. Now, adjust salt to your taste and enjoy your dish.