Kitchen Tips

5 Interesting Health Benefits of Banana Flowers

Malaysian cuisine is an amalgamation of many different cultures and food is a major part of their culture with a uniqueness of its own. It has many local ingredients that are widely used in making authentic dishes. Since Malaysia is located just below Southern Thailand it also draws some culinary inspiration from the cuisine and Malaysia being a tropical country, salads are consumed often. There are numerous health benefits of Banana flowers and they are extensively used in the Malaysian cuisine to prepare a range of salads and curries.  It is also widely used in Thai cuisine in a number of dishes  like Pad Thai with Banana Blossoms, Thai-Style Spicy Chicken, Banana Blossom and Herb Salad etc.

So what exactly is a Banana Flower?

Banana flower is called Jantung Pisang in Malay and it is the blossom from the banana plant hanging at the end of the cluster of bananas. It is usually purple or pinkish in colour and consists of many layers of bracts with rows of yellow florets lying in between the bracts. It has a stamen with a black and hard stigma at the end. The banana flower is the male part hanging at the end of the clusters of bananas.

health-benefits-of-banana-flowers

Image Courtesy: fs999 used under the Creative Commons Licence

Where can you find it?

You can find the ubiquitous banana flowers and the banana leaves in most of the Asian markets or Asian grocery store. You can also find the canned version in some of the Asian grocery store.

How to use banana flowers?

While using banana blossoms it is important to remember that they oxidise very quickly, whether you use it fresh or frozen and this will result in changing the flavour of the dish or becomes bitter.

However, you can squeeze some lime juice over the layers to prevent it from turning dark, but it is advisable to use it the same day when you chop it.

In some recipes, you are required to peel the outer mini petals and the stigmas from the florets one after the other.

You could also peel off some outer bracts to be used as a serving dish, but make sure you wash the bracts and dry them.

Then you can steam, grill or cook the whole blossom for at least 30 minutes until the outer bracts are charred. Once it cools, peel the fibrous bracts retaining the tender bracts and the heart of the flower, which looks like an artichoke.

banana-flower

Image Courtesy: Ian Wood used under the Creative Commons Licence

Malaysian Dishes using Banana flowers

Jantung Pisang or banana flower can be used to make a host of dishes but it is most commonly used in making salads.

It is also cooked and served with rice as a curry along with Sambal and also used to make stews . One of the popular salads made with banana flowers is the Kerabu Jantung Pisang, made with banana flowers, coconut and prawns.

kerabu-jantung-pisang-banana-flower

Image Courtesy: babe_kl used under the Creative Commons Licence

5 Health benefits of banana flowers:

  1. Banana flowers are especially known to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and help in healing wounds.
  2. It is known to be a great relief for managing diabetes and anemia.
  3. Banana flowers are known to be extremely helpful in reducing the menstrual pain. Cooked banana flowers mixed with yogurt can help reduce the bleeding.
  4. It is also known to be very helpful for nursing mothers.
  5. Banana flowers are rich in anti-oxidants and are found to be helpful in preventing cancer.

You May Also Like

Dim Sum Deep Dive

Dim Sum Deep Dive

Dumpling Dos and Dumpling Don’ts

Dumpling Dos and Dumpling Don’ts

CNY 2016 WINNERS

Kate Brodhurst

Rosalin Kristiani

Glenda Mc Donnell

Michael J Sabo

Melinda Savage

Lisa-Jane Fudge

Lillie Giang

Justine Withers

Julia Brodska

Josephine Chan

Sally-Ann Haw

Store Locator

Find your nearest Asian Store

Search


Our Newsletter

Sign up for an authentic Asian experience. From exotic cuisines to fascinating destinations to cooking competitions and monthly giveaways - Discover the Authentic