Banana Bud Salad/Kerabu Jantung Pisang

This is a wonderful side dish  which combines the deliciously rich and creamy texture of the banana bud flower with kerisik and dried prawns, the heat of  chilli and all the other ingredients just makes it delicious. Banana flowers are the buds of the banana plant, which are soaked and shredded for use in salad,stir fry or even to prepare vadai/fritters.Its a common dish prepared by many in Malaysia. You can get the banana bud in wet markets or night markets.

1 unpeeled banana bud,clean and weight about 300g
A pinch of baking soda
1 ½ tbsp kerisik
¼ tsp ground white pepper
5 to 6 kalamansi lime (squeeze the juice)
Salt to taste

For the dried prawn sambal:
300gms dried prawns ,soaked in water for 5 mins and drained
9 dried chillies,soaked in warm water for about 15mins and drained
3cm fresh turmeric
8 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic
½ in shrimp paste/belacan

1 stalk lemon grass,sliced
1 tbsp thick tamarind juice
¾ shredded young kaffir lime leaves
Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

Prepare the sambal first:
Pat dried prawns dry with kitchen paper and pound coarsely.Set aside.Pound dried chillies,turmeric together until fine.Add shallots,lemon grass and garlic and pound again until fairly fine.Heat oil, stir fry the pounded ingredients,shrimp paste  until fragrant.(Pound the ingredients and not in a mixer).The flavour is more richer in this manner.Control heat to prevent burning.Add pounded dried prawns and stir fry further.Add in the tamarind juice,sugar and salt.Cook until the dish is almost dry.

Preparing the banana buds:
The banana buds will discolour if it is not handle in a fast manner.Heat a pot of boiling water .Once the water is boiling ,add in a pinch of bicarbonate soda.
Then peel of layer by layer the banana petals and put the buds into the boiling water .
In a bowl ,pour in ice cool water. After a minute or so, transfer  the banana buds into the cool water.This will stop the buds from cooking further and help in the buds in retaining its colour. Then slowly remove the purple/black stamen in the middle of each flowers.

When one is preparing a salad with banana buds/kerabu ,this method comes handy. If you are using the buds to stir fry etc , then instead of placing them into boiling water with soda ,the buds are usually put in buttermilk or yogurt .
In a bowl, combine banana buds,kerisik,sambal and toss .Add in calamansi lime juice and pepper.Adjust the salt and sugar.Serve immediately .

This recipe is submitted to Inspire Me Monday-week 120 hosted by Create With Joy


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