Vietnamese Banana Blossom Salad

We are very excited to be back on the blog again. It is actually something we have been missing a lot. And at the same time we are incredibly grateful for the help from our guest bloggers. Without you, our trip would never have been this relaxing. Right now we have about six weeks left before we are going back to Sweden, we will spend most of those weeks in a house (with our own kitchen!) 80 feet from the beach on an island in southern Thailand. We are moving in tomorrow!

While being away from the blog we have been coming up with a couple of ideas for new blog posts. Some are food related, others are not. They are just ideas right now, but here are some of the stuff that we probably will turn into posts during our last weeks of this dream trip:
• Our favorite recipes from Thailand.
• Elsa turns 1 in less than a month (5th of March),
of course we have to bake some kind of sugar free birthday cake for her.
• We have been drinking many different varieties of green tea, maybe we should do a guide about it?
• Traveling with small children – here is what we’ve learned.

If there is anything else that you want to read about – something from our trip, or any recipes in general – please let us now by leaving a comment.

Here are some photos from our last days in Vietnam, and further down a recipe for Banana Blossom Salad.

Sugarcane juice with lime and fresh strawberries. It is quite the process to make this juice, they crush the cane by hand in an antique machine, with pieces of lime, mint and strawberries in between. It tastes very sweet and beats coca cola any day of the week.

You wouldn’t believe all the stuff that the Vietnamese can carry with them on a small motorbike. We have seen families with up to six people on one motorbike. One guy crossing a red light while balancing a 50-inch plasma screen on the seat behind him. And it’s actually not and unusual sight that they – like this guy – drive around with a tree behind their back.

On our final day in Vietnam we took a cooking class. It was fun learning how to hold your chopsticks right (it turns out we have been using the wrong grip all the time), how to make fried spring rolls, the simple trick how to know when the frying oil has got the right temperature, a classic phó chay recipe, and this delicious banana blossom salad. We of course realize that most of you probably don’t have banana blossoms growing in your backyard (we actually have it right now!), but you can easily replace it with any kind of cabbage, and you will still have a fresh, spicy and very asian inspired salad. We have made a few adjustments from the original recipe. We have added papaya or green mango, which is very common in asian salads, and used agave instead of sugar in the marinade.

Banana Blossom Salad (adapted from the Saigon Cooking Class)
Makes 1 salad that could serve 2 as a starter

1 (300 g) young banana blossom (you can also use white cabbage, red cabbage, kale)
500 ml ice water with 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 papaya or 1/2 green mango, shredded into thin slices
1 onion thinly chopped
1 carrot, cut or shredded in thin sticks
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 tbsp long coriander (polygonum leaf) or ordinary coriander/cilantro
1 tbsp vietnamese mint leaves
2 tbsp crushed peanuts
1 tbsp shallots to garnish (crispy fried or fresh)

Marinade:
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp agave or acacia honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp shallots, chopped
1/2 tsp red long chili (medium spicy), chopped

Place the layers of the banana blossom (or the cabbage leaves) on top of each other and roll them tight together. Slice them very thin and place them in a bowl of ice water and lime for about 20 minutes, then squeeze until dry and set aside. Make the marinade, add all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir around until dissolved. Combine banana blossom, papaya, onion, carrot, green pepper, coriander, marinade and peanuts in a large bowl and toss until well blended. Arrange the salad on a serving platter (or as we did, on a thick part of the banana or cabbage leaf) and sprinkle with shallots, peanuts and if you are up for it some extra red chili. Serve and enjoy this spicy classic vietnamese dish!

33 Comments

  • Hi guys, nice to have you back at your blog:) all the guest post were terrific, it was a wonderful way to meet other magnificent blogs and bloggers who are caring to cook in a healthier way. Muchas gracias for that!. I would love to read more about your travel stories and recipes of course. And altought I do not have children (but planning to do that soon) I would love to read your tips and experiences about traveling with a little one, and perhaps some post about photography tips, both on the culinary and travel side. (the picture of the guy on the scooter is a great one, not just the moment itself and the framing but quality and focus of the image). Now, about the recipe, this is a keeper, I love viet salads and banana blossoms are a staple on my wet market!. (Macau, SAR China).
  • I just got back from a trip and was so excited to see a new post! This salad looks amazing and I can't wait to hear about the posts you're thinking about! Especially the one about traveling with small children. I don't have any kids of my own yet, but when I do, I'd love to keep on traveling!
  • I love to follow you guys' journey. Again, an incredible travel piece.
  • Even if I don't get around to trying out the salad, I'm DEFINITELY going to have to make that dressing. Sounds wonderful!
  • Your trip looks amazing, as does all the food! I love,love, LOVE Thai and Vietnamese food, I can't get enough of it. I had thai food last night and it was all amazing. I of course blogged about it, but my photos are total garbage compared to yours! Thanks for the updates!
  • Daniel-san
    I can't wait to eat asian food in portugal!
  • Hi Guys! Hope you are having a great time on your vacation! The banana flower salad looks amazing. Actually did you know that, the stem like things (or the future banana's, if you can call them so!) are edible. That is the part we have always used to make curries in India. There is one black, thick string in each stem that needs to be removed. Hope this helps :) Ambika.
  • Liz Dean
    Looks delicious! So, I know this sounds strange, but where did you find the leaf plate in your pic? I had a friend bring me back one from Cambodia and I have been looking for more ever since!
  • Welcome back to your blog. I just started following you after Roost did a guest post, so I'm looking forward to getting to know you. I LOVE your photos - always so beautiful. I'd be especially interested to hear about one of the topics you mentioned - traveling with a young child. I have a 16 month old and did a lot of traveling abroad before he was born so I love to hear how people are traveling with their children.
  • i did't think it was possible but your pictures get more amazing with each post, love it!! xo
  • Adelina
    This is one of my favorite salad dishes - it is a bit time consuming, but it is so worth it! Thanks for posting!!!
  • beautiful. your trip is so inspiring. i'm saving up for a jet across the atlantic after graduation!
  • Jenner
    Green Tea please!!!!!!!!!
  • Like so many of your readers, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your gorgeous pictures and telling us about your adventures throughout the world. It makes me want to keep on travelling, especially as you're doing it with a small baby. I always heard it was be next to impossible to travel to Asia with a baby, thanks for proving this myth wrong!
  • Thank you thank you thank you! I have made Indian dishes with bannana flower but was looking for something just like this. I love Vietnamese food. Your pictures are beautiful.
  • Lovely clicks. Thank you for sharing your experiences in Asia.
  • I would love to see more recipes on the blog :) Also more pictures taken during the travels would be something I would love to see!
  • The farmer's market where I live carries banana flowers and I never had an idea of what to do with them til now...thanks! I would love to see the post you suggested on green tea...I drink it quite a bit and would like to see what you all have to see. Enjoy your last weeks in Thailand!
  • The salad & the dressing look delicious... And I would love to hear more about your trip adventures and some tips for Asia, we are planning an Indonesia vacation for a month this summer and everything about their food, culture, etc will be very interesting!
  • my brother in law grows bananas & has started selling the banana bells to thai restaurants....this recipe looks fabulous. dayle
    • Hi Dayle, I think you need to tell your brother in law to bring some home so you can have a go at this recipe! /David

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