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Banana Blossom Salad

YIELD: 10 servings

21/2 ozs. peanut oil
21/2 Tbsps. garlic, chopped
3 Tbsps.+11/2 tsps.
Thai fish sauce
5 Tbsps. lime juice
2 each Thai chile peppers, seeded and chopped
61/4 Tbsps. sugar
1 lb., 14 ozs. banana blossom
21/2 Tbsps. lemon juice
11/4 lb. cooked chicken breast or thigh, boned and shredded
1 lb. English cucumber, seeded
5 ozs. red onion, sliced
2 ozs. rau ram
71/2 ozs. peanuts, roasted, salted, chopped

  1. Cut seeded cucumber into long strips; soak in cold water for 30 minutes and drain. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat until just hot. Stir in garlic and cook until golden (not brown), about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Combine fish sauce, lime juice, chopped chile and sugar. Stir well to dissolve sugar; set aside.
  4. Trim bottom core of banana blossom and separate leaves. Discard outer 2 to 3 leaves and the tiny bananas inside. Stack the leaves and cut into 1/16th-in. thick slices. Rinse well and place in a bowl of cold water. Stir in the lemon juice and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain and spin dry.
  5. Combine the banana blossom, chicken, cucumber, red onion, rau ram and crispy garlic in a mixing bowl. Add the sauce and half the peanuts. Toss gently. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with remaining peanuts.

Recipe from Chef Emilio Lopez, University of California, Davis, Sodexho Marriott.

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