One of the advantages of living in Sydney is having a friend turn up with a banana bud cut freshly from his garden. I decide to make a Burmese-style thote; a fragrant, light yet substantial salad tossed in a salty, sour and spicy dressing.
As one banana bud is not enough for a meal, I add cellophane noodles which adds bulk as well as contrasting texture to the slightly nutty crunchy banana bud. Both ingredients are fairly bland and works particularly well with bold flavours. I always have coriander and mint in the fridge which adds freshness to the salad.
1 banana blossom, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon white vinegar
50g cellophane or glass noodles
large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
large handful of fresh mint, chopped
1 shallot, fried in oil to make crispy shallots
3 garlic cloves, fried in oil to make crispy garlic
1 tablespoon roasted chickpea powder
2 tablespoons oil used for frying the shallots
2 tablespoons tamarind juice
half lime, juiced
fish sauce to taste
dried roasted chilli flakes
Peel the outer layer of the blossom which are dark rich crimson, saving some of the petals to use as a serving dish later on if you wish. When you reach the inner pale yellow core, cut lengthways into quarters. Then slice thinly as possible. To prevent discolouration swiftly transfer to a bowl of ice cold water, just enough to cover, and add the vinegar. Leave to soak for 20 minutes.
Boil water in a saucepan and cook cellophane noodles until transparent, which takes only a few minutes. Then drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
In a bowl, put the drained banana blossom, noodles and remaining ingredients. Sprinkle the roasted chickpea powder and add the remaining salad dressing ingredients. Toss well to combine and check for seasoning, add more fish sauce until there is a good balance of salty and sour.
serves: 2 as part of a shared meal
cooking time: 20 mins