I’m currently out of town visiting my grandmother, and if you’ve read my post entitled Memories of a Grandchild you know that my grandparents have figured very prominently in my relationship with food. On our trip to the grocery store yesterday I discovered a dark purple bud of large proportions, and had to figure out what it was like to consume such a thing. A quick search on my phone yielded a handful of recipes, and a small chicken and bunch of cilantro later, we were ready to attempt this dish for dinner.
But first, we had to unwrap and prepare the bud for cooking – and my mother and I probably spent as much time admiring it while we peeled away the layers as we did cooking it. Here’s a look! If you want to jump straight to the recipe, click here.
Banana Blossom with Chicken and Cilantro
1 large banana blossom
2 cups water
1 small chicken (approx 3 lbs.)
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp chili flakes, depending on your heat tolerance
handful fresh cilantro, chopped coarse or torn by hand
Peel away the purple outer layers of the banana blossom, until you get to the yellow inner layers. Set aside (we’ll cut these right before they go in the pot, because as soon as they’re cut, their edges will oxidize and turn black).
Separate the chicken into pieces. Remove the legs and breasts, and cut up the backbone so the ribcage can be flattened.
Place the chicken in a large pot with 2 cups water, garlic, and chili flakes. Sprinkle the salt overtop and set over medium heat.
While the pot is heating up, separate the layers of the banana blossom and cut into thin strips (discard the little bananas – they’re cute, but bitter). Add to the pot. Let boil for 15 minutes.
Turn heat to the lowest setting and remove the chicken from the pot. Take the meat off the bone and shred into bite-sized pieces. Return it to the pot, stir, and remove from heat.
Add a handful of fresh cilantro, stir together, and serve with rice.
*This recipe is adapted from Chef-a-go go. You can view the original recipe here.