March 27, 2008

Recipe: Chicken and Banana flower Salad

Chicken and Banana flower Salad

500g (1 lb) chicken breast meat
540g (19 oz) tinned preserved banana flowers

4-6 large iceberg lettuce leaves
1 large red capsicum (bell pepper)
1 red onion
125g (4 oz) carrots

Juice of 1 lime
1 cup (250 ml/8 fl oz) peanut(groundnut) or sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon chilli paste
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

6 fresh coriander stalks
1 cup (125g/ 4 oz) shelled peanuts
4-6 long red or green chillies, skins must be perfect


-To cook the chicken, heat a wok or large pot, one-third full of water. Place the chicken in an aluminium or bamboo steamer and set over the boiling water. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove, cut into small pieces and set aside to cool.
-Remove the preserved banana flower from its container, rinse under cold running water, and then thoroughly drain to remove excess liquid. Slice the blossom into rings or strips.
-To prepare the vegetables, wash and dry the lettuce leaves and set aside in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator.
-Core and remove the seeds and inner ribs of the capsicum and slice lengthwise into thin strips 2 mm (1/8 in) in diameter. Peel and slice the red onion into julienne strips. Peel and wash the carrots and shred into very fine julienne strips and set aside in a bowl of ice water to curl and crisp.
-To prepare the dressing, whisk the lime juice into the oil, stir in the chilli paste and palm sugar and mix thoroughly. Season with salt to taste.
-For the garnish, wash, dry, and finely chop the coriander stalks. Roast the peanuts for a few minutes in hot oven or until they start to turn golden.
-Use a sharp knife to slice the chillies lengthwise into six or seven segments, making sure not to cut the inner stamen. Release the "petals" from the stamen with the point of the knife. Place the cut chilli into a bowl of ice water until the "petals" have curled. These should be prepared a few hours ahead of serving the salad so that the "petals" are encouraged to curl.
-To asemble the salad, mix together the chicken breast pieces, sliced banana flower and prepared vegetables (except the lettuce leaves). Spoon the dressing over and gently stir through the salad mixture. Pile the salad onto individual lettuce leaves, sprinkle the peanutes and coriander over, and decorate with a chilli flower.


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