We were driving around running errands recently when we came across a huge Asian market. Having heard of it before, and with some time to spare, we decided to walk in and give it a try. It was a different world inside with all manner of exotic fruits and vegetables. Multiple varieties of eggplants, chiles, raw turmeric, papayas among other things. It was almost overwhelming trying to decide what to buy. I picked up some of our favorite things- green bananas, bunches of cilantro, fresh oregano and some tiny round eggplants . Just as I thought I was done, I passed by a large stack of banana blossoms. I had never seen so many of these before.
I remembered my mom cooking them many years ago when we lived in Dallas. We had found a couple of banana blossoms in a store there and she had cooked them right away. Given their rarity, I jumped at the chance to give them a try again.
While they are very easy to cook, it’s not that easy to figure out what part to cook. An internet search, a call to my mom and finally confirmation from my husband (who apparently had helped his mom prep these as a child) gave me all the information I needed to get these banana blossoms ready for cooking. It is a pretty simple but time consuming process. You start by peeling back the leaves of the blossoms and removing the many buds under each leaf. To prep the buds, you just open them up pull out and discard the large stigma inside each one, as well as the waxy out layer surrounding the stigma. It seems tedious as there are so many buds, but it is pretty simple and repetitive. Once you get past that part, it is an extremely easy process to make a tasty and exotic dish out of them.