Banana blossoms are a popular food in tropical regions. From India to Fiji, banana blossoms are used in many traditional recipes. A whole whole reddish purple banana blossom has an artichoke kind of flavor, but the rows of flowers inside taste quite different. The flavor of banana flowers tastes like a strong bitter wildflower combined with a hint of starchy unripe banana. The banana flowers look like pale yellowish white miniature bananas.
Fresh banana flowers are best for recipes, but dried salted banana flowers are a nice convenience. Dried salted banana flowers are available in Asian food markets. I used dried salted banana flowers for today's recipe.
Many Southeast Asian banana flower recipes require chile pepper and coconut milk. Those two flavors seem to accent the bitter banana flower flavor. Shrimp is the most popular kind of seafood for a soup that is made with banana flowers.
Salmon is not exactly a tropical fish, but it tastes nice with banana flowers. Lemongrass and galangal (Thai Blue Ginger) gives the broth an exotic flavor by western standards. Any fish or vegetable broth can be used to make today's recipe. I made the soup in the photos with a light shrimp broth.
Glass noodles llok like translucent clear noodles. Glass noodles are made with various starches that turn clear, like mung bean flour, corn starch or tapioca flour. Glass noodles can be soaked in water to reduce the cooking time. Some types of Tapioca Thread Noodles do require a long boiling or steaming time to become tender.
Tapioca Thread Noodles in Lemongrass Galangal Coconut Broth with Salmon and Banana Flowers:
This recipe yields 1 large pho style noodle bowl!
The ingredients are added in stages in this recipe.
Shocking the glass noodles in ice water is an option, but tapioca noodles usually retain a chewy texture if they are cooked to order.
Step 1: Heat a pot of water over high heat to cook the glass noodles with later in the recipe!
Step 2: Place 3 1/4 cups of light shrimp broth in a pot over high heat.
Tie a lemongrass shoot into a simple knot.
Place the knotted lemongrass in the broth.
Bring the broth to a gentle boil.
Step 3: Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger paste.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground dried galangal.
Add 1 sliced shallot.
Add 1/3 cup of chopped onion.
Add 8 to 10 dried banana blossom flowers. (If you are using fresh banana blossom flowers, then add them a little bit later in the recipe.)
Step 4: Add 1/2 tablespoon of Fish Sauce. (Thai or Vietnamese Fish Sauce is available in most grocery stores and Asian food markets.)
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1 pinch of coriander.
Add 1 pinch of cumin.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
Stir the broth.
Step 5: Start cooking 1 portion of tapioca thread noodles in the pot of boiling water. Tapioca Thread Noodles may take 12 minutes to cook.
Step 6: Cut a 4 to 5 ounce filet of salmon into large bite size pieces. (Leave the skin on the salmon.)
Add the salmon to the simmering broth.
Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk.
Add a few thin slices of carrot for color.
Add a few thin slices of celery.
Add 1 cup of napa cabbage that is cut into wide slices.
Step 7: Simmer till the salmon is fully cooked. Do not stir or the salmon pieces will break apart!
Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
Step 8: The Tapioca Thread Noodles should be tender by now. Drain the water off of the tapioca thread noodles after the noodles are tender.
Step 9: Add 1/2 of a thin sliced green jalapeño pepper. to the broth.
Add 6 to 8 feather cut snow peas.
Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
Step 10: Remove the lemongrass knot from the broth and discard it.
Ladle the soup into a large soup bowl.
Place the noodles in the center of the soup.
Arrange a few pieces of salmon and a few vegetables on the surface of the soup around the noodles so the soup looks nice.
Place a few of the simmered banana blossom flowers on top of the glass noodles.
Sprinkle 1 thin sliced green onion top on the broth.
Place a few cilantro leaves on the surface of the broth.
Float 2 thin lime slices on the broth.
The banana blossom flavor is comfortably bitter with a long lasting fresh banana flower after taste. Salmon skin is very healthy. The layer of fat under the salmon skin is good for healthy skin and a strong heart. Wiggly glass noodles are fun to eat!