Vietnamese Banana Blossom Salad with shredded chicken

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This Vietnamese salad uses an ingredient called banana blossom. A banana blossom is basically the flower out of which a cluster of bananas will eventually grow. The outer leaves have a deep red/purple color, but the leaves inside the flower are a faint yellow color. The inner leaves of the flower taste a bit like the skin of a big yellow banana, but then a lot less bitter and horrible, if that makes sense? 

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I have not yet seen them in any Asian Supermarket in Amsterdam, but if you ever run into one,  here is how to make this delicious and exotic looking salad:

Vietnamese banana blossom salad with shredded chicken:

Ingredients: – serves 4

1 young banana blossom (400 gram) only the yellow inside leaves. (use the outside leaves as serving bowls)
500 ml iced water with two tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 chicken breast
1 carrot julienne cut
1 onion thinly sliced
1/2 green pepper cut into strips
10 laksa leaves thinly sliced (Rau Ram)
10 mint leaves (Hun Cay)
1 table spoon crushed peanuts
1 table spoon crispy fried shallots to garnish
60 ml fish dipping sauce (recipe in earlier post: https://thirstforfood.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/vietnamese-fish-dipping-sauce/

Place the chicken in a saucepan and cover with water. poach over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. When cooled shred the chicken along the grain into thin strips.
Cut the banana blossom in fine strips and soak in a large bowl with iced water for 20 minutes to remove the slimy residue and to prevent from discoloring. Then drain with a cheesecloth until dry.
Peel and finely slice the shallots and deep fry until light brown and golden and set aside.

Combine the banana blossom, chicken, onion, carrot, green pepper, fish sauce dressing, laksa leaves and peanuts in a large bowl and toss well. Arrange the salad on a serving platter and sprinkle with crispy fried shallots. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Bangkok street food – duck cheeks

DSC_0720One of the best things about traveling is that it gives you the chance to encounter new foods and to taste the local delicacies.

Have you ever had duck cheeks for dinner?
Not yet? Then Visit Bangkok’s China Town!

Although it tastes like the crispy part of a spare- rib and there is hardly any meat on them, its definitely something different.
Fun fact: because the duck is deep fried, the last inch of the bone (without the meat) becomes edible.