Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cooking With Banana Flowers

Pic: banana flowers that still on the tree.

Few days ago I went shopping at a grocery store. I LOVE grocery stores! Instead of spending my money on fashion, I would rather spend my money at grocery stores. If grocery stores have the first place, bookstores have the second place. For the third place maybe held by restaurants.

To me, going to grocery stores are like going for a treasure hunt. You never know what new products they might have in store! Even if they don't have anything new, you can still try something that you have never tried before.

So today when I saw those banana flowers wrapped in plastic I just have to try them. This is not my first time to eat banana flowers, but this is my first time to buy them because I want to see how to cook them.

At my home, there are 2 cooks that close to me. One is Juli, she works for my family the longest, around 15 years or more. Then there is Nur, she only started to work here few months ago. Juli is a talented cook, her food is always tasty and to encourage her to cook even more different dishes, I suscribe her cooking newspaper that comes twice a month. Right now I am still getting to know Nur but she shows me that she has potential to be a good cook too. What makes her special is because she used to works in Saudi Arabia for 10 years and her ex-employer's job there is selling food! So she knows a lot about middle eastern food and even greek because she can describe it to me how to make some greek food. Someday I will make a video of her making fried dough drizzled with honey. Yum!!! Crispy on the outside and empty inside!


Let's go back to banana flowers again.

So when I came home, all I have to do is just to hand them to Juli and she will somehow process them into a delicious meal.

This is how she did it:

1. She peeled the outer layer first, threw away the flowers that are too old to eat and she also trimmed the tip of the flower.

2. Then she boiled them in already boiling water for about 15 minutes.

3. Then she drained them and chopped them into rough pieces. I had a misconception that I can only eat the flowers but it turn out that I can eat everything of that banana flowers.

4. Then she mixed it with the sauce. This time because I give her such a short notice to cook it, she just used store bought peanut sauce called "Bumbu Pecel".

Pic: How the banana flowers look at first.

Pic: How the banana flowers look after she finished cutting out the outer skin and the matured flowers.

Pic: Now she will cut the banana flowers in half before she dropped them into the boiling water.

Pic: These are how they look inside.

Pic: What she throw away are these, the hard outer skin and the matured flowers.

Pic: The old flowers that she threw away look like these.

Pic: She mixed the peanut sauce with water to thin it out into a more sauce consistency.

Pic: She chopped the banana flowers roughly.

Pic: She mixed the banana heart with the peanut sauce.

Pic: A well-mixed banana heart with peanut sauce.

Pic: This is how my lunch looked, a simple fare but I love it. Just the banana heart in peanut sauce on the top right corner and milkfish cooked with lots of seasonings using pressure cooker for 2 hours so I can eat everything, even the bones. Milkfish is notorious for their millions of bone!

NOTE: The flower of the banana plant (also known as banana blossom or banana heart)

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