Unlike the purple bulb banana blossom from Hawaii, Mexico and South America that is available and used in the USA, Chef Khai remembers the lovely white, tender banana blossoms he enjoyed in Vietnam. To julienne the banana blossoms, Chef Khai uses the thinnest setting on a Japanese mandolin. It is important to soak the strips in a large bowl of cold water with white vinegar to prevent discoloration.
- 2 small banana blossoms, or 4 cups well-packed finely julienned banana blossom strips
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons White Vinaigrette, recipe follows
- 2 cups shredded, poached chicken breast
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 ruby red grapefruit, sectioned and each segment torn into thirds, optional
- 2 teaspoons chopped rau rum (Vietnamese mint), or regular mint
- 6 tablespoons chili fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons crispy shallot flakes
- 4 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
Peel off and discard the tough, old outer layers (called bracts) of the banana blossom. Use a Japanese mandolin with the thinnest setting and cut into fine julienne strips; immediately plunge into large bowl of cold water and the white vinegar. When ready to prepare the salad, remove the julienne strips and shake off the tiny white buds (chopped up baby buds). Rinse and drain. Squeeze dry of the excess water. Place 4 cups well packed strips into a bowl. Add the white vinaigrette and toss for a few seconds. Pour off the excess liquid.
To serve, mound the salad equally onto 4 separate plates. Top each salad with 1 tablespoon crispy shallot flakes and 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside.
Yield: about 2 cups
Chef's Note: Chef Khai's kitchen is stocked with this simple white vinaigrette in large amounts. He uses it as a rinse to rid unwanted raw flavors. It also lightly seasons salad ingredients with a delicate sweet and sour pickled taste.
* Professional Recipe
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.