Dishes made from banana hearts have had the misfortune of being labeled as peasant food. This is because that is the part of the plant that usually gets thrown away. My dad has been growing bananas in his garden for decades but he usually gave the banana heart away because he didn’t know how to prepare them.
The trick to preparing banana blossoms is to know which parts to keep and which to throw away. All the outer bracts that have shrivelled and discoloured have to be discarded. Keep only the blossoms that are fresh and moist. For this recipe, we are only using the blossoms, but the rest of the heart where the bracts are white or light pink is also edible.
When preparing the blossoms, discard each black stigma and the white outer sepal. Then to get rid of the bitterness, soak the blossoms in a mild solution of vinegar and salt, which neutralises the alkali in the banana sap.
After marinating the blossoms in the flavoured batter, dredging them in rice flour not only helps separate each flower but also gives a nice crispy finish to the fritters. Fry in small batches at a time so that you don’t lower the temperature of the oil too much. Each batch takes less than 5 minutes to cook, and you get a nice light golden colour and a long-lasting crispiness.
Taste, then sprinkle additional salt if necessary. I like to serve them in the banana bracts with a side of sweet chilli sauce or mayonnaise spiked with a bit of lemon juice.
- 2 banana hearts
- 3 cups cooking oil for frying
- ½ cup rice flour for dredging
- ½ tsp salt
- 60g self-raising flour
- 20g rice flour
- 10g cornstarch
- 1 tsp meat curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- mayonnaise with a squeeze of lemon juice or sweet chilli sauce
- Remove the outer bracts of the banana hearts and discard any shrivelled and discoloured blossoms.
- Extract only the fresh blossoms and discard the bitter stigmas and sepals from each blossom.
- Soak the blossoms in a mild solution of salt and vinegar for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside. This will help remove the bitterness from the blossoms.
- Sift together all the dry batter ingredients into a mixing bowl, then whisk in water and oil until combined.
- Add banana blossoms into batter and stir until well coated, then set aside to marinade for about 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a deep pot for frying. When ready to fry, dredge battered blossoms in rice flour and immediately drop into hot oil to fry until crispy and light golden.
- Remove from the frying pan and drain excess oil on paper towels. Continue frying in small batches to keep oil from cooling down too much.
- Finally, sprinkle additional salt to taste and serve immediately with lemon mayonnaise or sweet chilli sauce.