Banana flower salad

Banana flower salad

Nộm hoa chuối

Real Vietnamese Cooking
6 rolls
Michael Fountoulakis

The large purple petals of the banana flower are often used in Vietnamese cooking. The outer layers are too tough and bitter to eat, but are kept for decoration, for an added splash of colour. The inner petals, which are almost white at the stem and turn a light purple towards the tip, add a delicately bitter taste to salads and curries.

Originally a local Hanoi dish, this salad is now widely available throughout Vietnam. It works equally well with duck or chicken.


Quantity Ingredient
2 limes, juiced
1 banana flower
1 x 180g pork fillet
vegetable oil, for pan-frying
12 cooked tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
3 red asian shallots, thinly sliced
1 handful bean sprouts
coriander, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped, plus extra to garnish


Quantity Ingredient
90g sugar
100ml lime juice
60ml fish sauce
1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped


  1. Add the lime juice to a bowl of water. Pull any bruised outer petals from the banana flower. Gently remove six tender petals and set aside for presentation.
  2. Slice the remaining flower very thinly, discarding any banana shoots between the petals. Soak the flower slices in the lime juice water, to soften them slightly without discolouring.
  3. Meanwhile, season the pork and fry in a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Remove the pork to a board. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice and set aside.
  4. Cut the prawns in half lengthways and set aside.
  5. To assemble the salad, drain the sliced banana flower and pat dry with paper towel. Place in a large bowl with the pork, prawns, shallot, bean sprouts, coriander and peanuts.
  6. Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Gently toss the dressing through the salad, evenly distributing the ingredients and dressing.
  7. Divide the salad among the six reserved banana flower petals. Sprinkle with extra chopped peanuts and serve.
Real Vietnamese Cooking
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