Banana Flower with Petai

(Photo by babe_kl/Flickr)

Serves 6.


220 /7 oz banana flower
2 tablespoons dried shrimps
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
185 g/6 oz can petai, drained or 100 g/31/2 oz fresh petai
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon tamarind puree
1 bulb pickled garlic, chopped


Discard tough outer layers of the banana flower. Steam or boil for 15 minutes (or cover with wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes). Cool to lukewarm, halve lengthways and slice in thin slices crosswise. Meanwhile, soak dried shrimps in 1/2 cup boiling water until softened, then chop roughly. Save soaking water.

Heat oil and fry garlic and ginger on low heat, stirring until golden. Add sliced banana flower, shrimps, petai and soaking water. Sprinkle with turmeric, salt and chilli powder. Toss well. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in tamarind puree, taste and correct seasoning. Scatter pickled garlic scattered on top and serve with rice. 

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)