Banana flower salad has an interesting mix of flavors. It may not be common, but it has a unique taste and texture. The ground coconut, coconut milk and the lemon juice add a lot of flavor to this interesting dish. In a way it neutralizes the taste of the fish. You may also use shrimp or squid for this recipe and it will taste equally delicious.
The banana blossom may be tough, so take your time in preparing it. As for the desiccated coconut, you can find it in Asian food stores or supermarket. They are also available in powder form, but I prefer them fresh.
1 fresh banana flower
1 small carrot, julienned
150g mackerel fillet
1 cup freshly grated desiccated coconut
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime wedges for serving
Remove the outer layers of the banana flower until you see the tender bud that is pale in color. Cook the bud in a large saucepan with water and 1/2 a teaspoon salt. Set the heat to high and then bring it to a boil. After, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for another 25-30 minutes until the bud is tender and a knife pierces into the center easily.
While cooking the banana blossom, place the fish in a pan with water. Season it with salt and pepper. Poach it over medium heat; around 5-8 minutes. Drain the fish and set it aside. Let it cool for 5 minutes and then flake it.
Next, fry the coconut in a wok or non-stick frying pan over medium heat until it is toasted and golden brown; around 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Grind the coconut in a blender or food processor. You may also use a mortar and pestle if desired.
Once the banana is cooked, drain and slice it into quarters and let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Discard tough fibers. When the banana blossom is cool enough, squeeze out the excess water and then slice it thinly.
Combine the banana blossom, flaked fish, carrots, ground coconut, coconut milk, onion, lime juice and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Toss all the ingredients gently until well combined. Season it with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.