Thursday, July 15, 2010

Asian Style Warm Chicken and Banana Blossom Salad

Banana blossoms are the large deep pink coloured specimens that hang at the end of a banana bunch (see image right, this photo is from it also has a little more info on the banana blossom).  I've only seen them fresh in a vietnamese green grocer on Victoria Street, Richmond in Melbourne, however they are sold canned at most Asian grocers.  I discovered these artichoke like vegetables whilst watching a cooking show about 5 years ago.  Not long after I went to Cookie on Swanston Street, Melbourne and saw banana blossom and chicken salad.  It was served in a VERY spicy vinaigrette but so delicious!

This salad is much nicer served warm.  If you don't have banana blossom, you can still make this salad, however it does add a really interesting texture to the salad.

Asian Style Warm Chicken and Banana Blossom Salad

 - 1/2 a yellow or red capsicum, julienned
 - 1/2 a bunch of coriander, chopped
 - 1/2 a bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
 - 3 kaffir lime leaves, julienned thinly
 - 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
 - 1 can banana blossoms, drained, coarsely cut
 - handful of fried onion or shallots (available from asian grocers)
 - handful of mint, chopped
 - 50g roasted cashews, chopped (or peanuts)
 - 5 chicken tenderloins
 - 1 tbsp kecap manis (indonesian sweet soy sauce)
- 1/2 a packet (approx. 100g) mung bean noodles
 - 4 green onions, chopped finely
 - 1/2 long mild red chilli

 - 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
 - 1 tsp brown sugar
 - 1 tsp rice vinegar
 - 1/2 tsp chinese cooking wine
 - 2 tbsp soy sauce
 - 1 tsp Hoi Sin BBQ sauce
 - 1 tbsp Kecap Manis
 - 1 tsp mirin
 - 3-5 drops fish sauce
 - 1-2 tsp Sambal Oeleck (chilli paste)
 - 3 tbsp water

1.  Prepare all the vegetables, nuts and herbs and place in large bowl.

2.  Place noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let rest for 5 minutes, drain and add to salad bowl.

3.  Heat frying pan on a high heat with a little oil and add chicken, drizzle with kecap manis.  Cook for only a few minutes on either side so the chicken is soft.  Take the chicken off the heat and shred coarsely,  add to the salad bowl.

4.  Add all the ingredients for the sauce to a small saucepan and place over low heat, stir constantly.  Ensure not to use fresh peanut butter as it will not bind well.  Once all the ingredients have mixed together take it off the heat.

5.  Mix the sauce into the salad straightaway.  Serve sprinkled with extra fried onions :)

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