Vietnam cooking class @ 2014

Banana Blossom Salad with Chicken

This unusual salad uses banana blossoms, chicken, herb, vegetables and roasted peanuts. You can easy find banana blossoms in Vietnamese food market. This is a good appetizer for a warm small party at home.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 banana blossom (600g)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 large whole chicken breast (about 350g)
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 200g mung beans sprouts
  • ½ small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup peanuts, roasted and coarsely ground
  • 1/3 cup Tuk Trey salad dressing

PROCESS:

Step 1: Prepare Tuk Trey salad dressing

  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small shallot
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Set aside and allow to cool.

Pound the garlic and shallot into small pieces with a mortar and pestle; or grind in a food processor. Stir into sugar water, then add fish sauce, lime juice and salt.

Step 2: Fill a large bowl with water mixed with the juice of 1 lime. Set aside.

Remove the tough outer layer of the banana blossoms and discard it, along with the undeveloped “baby” bananas inside. Carefully pull away the next several layers of leaves, regularly cutting into the stem to make it easier to break them off (the aim is to keep the leaves whole if possible). Lay several leaves on top of one another and slice the leaves in the acidulated water, turning occasionally.

Step 3: Continue in this fashion, releasing the leaves discarding the undeveloped bananas and cutting the leaves into strips, until you reach the “heart”. Cut this center in half lengthwise, remove as many “babies” as possible, and slice the remaining leaves width-wise about ¼-inch thick.

Step 4: In a medium saucepan, bring the 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the chicken breast, return to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the meat is tender. Remove the chicken from the pan and lat cool slightly, then shred the meat with your fingers.

Step 5: In a large salad bowl, toss all the vegetables, mint and basil leaves together with the chicken. Setting aside a handful for garnish, mix in the ground peanuts. Add dressing and toss. Sprinkle with the remaining peanuts and serve immediately.

Finally: Roasted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Put raw peanuts in a shallow pan and bake, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. When the nuts are cold, grind them with mortar and pestle.

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