Explore the full potential of the banana flower in this curry recipe with Indonesian flavours. In Bahasa, this dish is called Gulai Jantung Pisang. You can easily find it at Javanese Warungs (small familiar restaurants).
The banana flower is also known as banana heart or banana blossom.
Recipe: Indonesian banana flower curry
- 1 banana flower
- 2 lemons
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 2 kaffir lime leaves – if not, substitute by lemon zest
- 2 bay leaves
- salt – to taste
- soy oil
For the curry paste
- 5 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 cm fresh turmeric
- 3 cm fresh galangal – if not, substitute by ginger
- 2 macadamia nuts
- 1 fresh red chilli – optional
- 1 tsp salt
- For the banana flower
- Prepare a bowl with 1 litre of water and the juice of 2 lemons. Reserve it.
- Take the banana flower and remove the outer purple leaves (bractuntil you reach the paler and more malleable leaves.
- Lay down the banana flower on a cutting board and slice it into blades (from the thin top to the bulb).
- Very quickly, place the chopped slices in the bowl with water and lemon. With your hands, separate the slices into rings and let it soak for about 20 min. This prevents the banana flower from darkening and helps to remove bitterness.
- For the curry paste
- Prepare the ingredients – chop onion, garlic, turmeric, red chilli, galangal (or gingeand macadamia.
- Heat oil in a wok – medium heat. Then, sauté all ingredients of the curry paste for about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and transfer the sauteed ingredients to a processor or blender and mix till you obtain a homogeneous paste.
- For the dish
- Prepare the lemongrass by smashing the stalks to release more of the aroma. An alternative is to cut it lengthwise and then tie itself in a knot.
- In the same wok that was used previously, add more oil. Drain the banana flower from the water and place it in the wok with the curry paste. Saute for a few more minutes.
- Add bay leaves and kaffir lemon leaves, plus the lemongrass stalks and coconut milk. If necessary, add a little water to cover the ingredients.
- Keep on high heat until boiling, then cook over low heat until thickened. Correct the salt if necessary.
- Before serving, remove the lemongrass stalks, the bay leaves, and the kaffir lime leaves.
- The younger the banana flower, the less bitter it is.
If you find that the banana flower is very bitter, try boiling it in water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
- The original recipe uses candlenuts instead of macadamia nuts. The candlenut comes from Aleurites moluccana tree. If you found it, use the original ingredient.
- Macadamia is important in the recipe because it acts as a thickener. It also works with other types of nuts.
- Didn’t find the banana flower? This curry paste is an excellent base that can be used in various preparations – in Indonesia, we even find a boiled eggs curry made with this same paste.
Serve with white rice, sautéed kale leaves and fried tempeh with sambal.