Banana Blossom Salad with Dried Squid and Spice Chilli Jam (ยำหัวปลีปลาหมึกแห้ง)

Banana blossom salad is a dish from the Central Plains of Thailand. We discovered several interesting variants during our research. Examples include using frog meat for the protein, or chicken grilled over coconut husk. One inventive cook we found roasted and smoked the banana flower whole by covering it with left-over coconut shells, husk and piling hot coals on top. The only protein used in her salad was some bits of pork skin to add flavor and texture.

In Thailand every part of the banana blossom can be used for cooking. The inner light yellow blossom fronds are the most popular, widely used in Pad Thai, salads, curries, soups or as a vegetable accompaniment to relishes.

The flavor of the blossom ranges from subtle to strongly astringent, depending on the maturity, and which part is used. It is a flavor which cannot be forgotten once experienced in a properly prepared dish.

In the preparation, lime juice can be substituted for green mango and or tamarind as the souring component.

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Banana Blossom Salad with Dried Squid and Spice Chilli Jam
Instructions
  1. Prepare the banana blossom. Clean then slice and soak in water with a squeeze of lime juice to prevent oxidation.
  2. Make coconut cream by squeezing 480g coconut meat to 300 mls of warm water through muslin cloth, set aside.
  3. Grill the dried squid, shred into thin strips, set aside.
  4. Mix coconut cream, palm sugar, sea salt, lime juice and chilli jam together to make salad dressing.
  5. Squeeze out excess water from the banana blossom, put in a mixing bowl along with the prepared dressing follow by the rest of the ingredients and gently mix.
  6. Adjust to taste, the final result should be sour, sweet, nutty, salty with a hint of spiciness.
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