Thai Soup with Banana Flower

(Photo by Charles Haynes/Flickr)

Serves 4-6.


1 banana flower
1.5 litres/3 pints/6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 stems fresh lemon grass, thinly sliced or 4 strips lemon zest
4 kaffir lime leaves
4 slices galangal
3 fresh chillies
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup thick coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
3 tablespoons chopped spring onions (scallions)


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). When cool enough to handle, cut in quarters lengthways, then across into fairly thin slices.Put slices into a saucepan with the water, salt, lemon grass, lime leaves, galangal, chillies and garlic. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until banana flower is tender. Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and remove from heat. Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander and spring onions.

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