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December 13, 2008
Posted by talin

Banana Blossom and Artichoke Salad

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Filed under: Cooking Classes, Recipes

Chef Chai made this dish without artichokes and it was wonderful.  Instead of using fresh banana blossoms, he showed that using canned ones were easier and just as tasty.  Like artichokes, you have to do a lot of work to get to the tender hearts.  If you’re using canned artichokes, make sure that you don’t use ones that are seasoned, or this dish won’t taste right.

Banana Blossom and Artichoke Salad

(yum nua plee kub artichoke)

(Serves 2)
I had the pleasure or cooking with Chef Ian Chalermkittichai, of New York City’s famous Kittichai, when we both served as guest chefs at an Asian tsunami fundraising gala organized hy the United States-Thailand Amity for Charity Foundation. That event, and the chance to cook with Chef Ian, provided the inspiration for this salad, which was a hit with the American and Asian dignitaries and celebrities in attendance at the
Washington, D.C. dinner.
1 cup banana blossom, coarsely sliced into 1/2-inch strips (Aisle 13)
3-5 artichokes, or enough to yield 1 cup, sliced hearts
1/4 cup coconut milk (Aisle 13)
1 tablespoon deep-fried shallot slices (Aisle 15)
1 tablespoon lemongrass (tender partonly), finely sliced crosswise
2 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
4 broiled prawns (26-30 count per pound), peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons cashew nuts (Aisles 4 & 15)
2 tablespoons toasted, shredded coconut (Aisle 4)
mint or cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Salad Dressing

1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (Aisle 13)
2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons roasted chili jam (Aisle 13) (nam prik phao; recipe to follow), or to taste
1/2-1 tablespoon coconut sugar, or to taste
fresh Thai bird chilies or chili powder, to taste

  1. To prepare banana blossom, remove the outer purple leaves until you reach the creamy white heart. Quarter the heart lengthwise and cut into small strips and immediately soak in water infused with lime or lemon juice and salt to prevent browning. Repeat with remaining blossoms.
  2. To prepare artichoke hearts, cut away the bottoms of the artichokes’ stems; then carefully peel the remainders of the stalks. Remove the hard outer leaves until you reach the tender part in the middle. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and scoop out the fibrous choke from the center. Slice the heart into bite-sized pieces and soak in the citrus-infused water with the banana blossoms.
  3. Rinse the banana blossom and artichoke hearts and transfer to a pot. Add water to cover and coconut milk. Cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes until tender. Strain and set aside.
  4. Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well; set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl, add cooked banana blossom, artichoke hearts, fried shallot, lemongrass and kairir lime leaves; drizzle with the salad dressing. Stir gently to mix and transfer to a serving platter. Top with the broiled prawns, cashew nuts and toasted coconut. Garnish with mint or cilantro sprigs and serve immediately.

Note: Banana blossom and artichoke heart have very similar textures when cooked until tender, and both are high in potassium and vitamin C. if you are short on time, you can use artichoke hearts and banana blossoms that are canned or jarred. You’ll find the latter in most Asian markets. Also, if you use store-bought roasted chili jam, remember to adjust the amount of coconut sugar to balance the flavor.

Reprinted with permission from

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