Banana blossom recipes to try this Heart Month

As the host month for Valentine’s day, February has come to be known as the month of love. In true Filipino fashion, in 1973, February was also decreed to be known as Heart month, to promote awareness on heart health. Eating right is the first step to a healthy heart, more precisely, eating lots of vegetables is a sure way to heart health. When we chew (not juice or blend) vegetables, the chewing action releases nitrous oxide into our blood stream. This helps to dilate the blood vessels so that blood can flow through the body better. You can, quite literally, eat your way to a healthy heart.

To celebrate heart month, I am sharing two recipes that make use of a vegetable heart—puso ng saging. The banana blossom is full of fiber that is good to cleanse the body, think of the fiber as sweeping clean the digestive tract. Puso ng saging is versatile and can be adapted into several dishes including lumpia, kilawin, and my favourite two recipes, adobo, and puso with tokwa.

Email the author at: juana@mesanimisis.com

Adobong Puso ng Saging

Nothing embodies Filipino food more than adobo. As the dish is beloved all around the world by Filipinos and non-Filipinos, it’s safe to say that adobo has arrived on the world stage. Every home has their version of adobo, each representative of their own tastes. Feel free to make this recipe your own! You won’t miss the meat as it’s really the soy sauce and vinegar that bring this dish to life!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 puso ng saging 
  • 2 calamansi
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Chop the puso ng saging lengthwise. In a bowl, soak the chopped puso in the juice of 2 calamansi.
  2. In a pan, bring 1 cup water to a simmer. Add the puso and cover with more water.
  3. After 5 minutes, add the onion, garlic, Silver Swan soy sauce, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the vinegar. Do not mix. (This is an old practice done for adobo to ensure it does not get too sour).
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes before serving.
  6. Service with hot rice.

Banana Heart Salad with Crunchy Tofu

The summertime has had me craving for Thai and Vietnamese flavors in my food. Perhaps because my body is craving the cooling properties that are in the lime and lemongrass that are often in these dishes.

Banana heart is a versatile vegetable and is made up of mostly fiber, making it a somewhat light meal. Affordable and in season anytime, there are banana hearts used in Filipino, Vietnamese, and Cambodian dishes. I added baked tofu which is a great texture to have with the chopped banana heart. I have seen recipes where the banana heart is left uncooked, but I personally find it harder to digest, so in this recipe, it was sautéed in a little salt and water.

Another rendition of this dish is to add it to some vermicelli noodles to make it a heavier meal and in case you don’t feel like having rice. This satisfied my craving, and I hope it does the same for you!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 banana heart, chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 red chilies
  • 200g peanuts plus a handful more
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 100g mint leaves
  • 200g hard tofu (tokwa)

Instructions

  1. In a heated pan, place the chopped banana heart with 2 tbsp of water. Simmer until tender.
  2. In a mortar, use the pestle to combine the lemongrass, garlic, onions, chili, juice of 2 limes, fish sauce, salt and sugar, peanuts.
  3. Mash together until parts are smaller.
  4. Add the water to the mixture and set aside.
  5. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or silicone lining and place the diced tofu chunks. Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes or until crispy.
  6. In a bowl, combine the tofu, cooked banana heart, and the dressing in the mortar. Add the mint leaves and remaining peanuts and toss.
  7. Serve with noodles or rice on the side.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/02/19/heart-to-heart/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=heart-to-heart)