Banana flower and shrimp salad

May 23, 2011  •  Category:


I had seen these banana flowers last summer in Tyre, our southernmost coastal city lined with banana plantations. As it turns out, they are consumed in many countries in Asia, just not in Lebanon (or the rest of the Levant for that matter).

These flowers are mild-tasting (like a Belgian endive without the bitterness) and have health benefits (click here to read up on those).

I saw curries made with the banana flower (India), salads (Vietnam and Malaysia). Well, it is close to 90C here, so a salad was more appropriate.

You need to peel the layers of outer skin and then you run into baby bananas, which can be either discarded or consumed provided you remove certain portions like the inside pistil and leaf; I chose to discard them today. The tender leaves inside are chopped and immediately dropped into a bowl with some lime or lemon juice, otherwise the leaves will turn black quickly.

To see how a banana flower is cut, click here.


  • 1 Large banana flower
  • 2 Large carrots
  • 2 Large parsnips
  • 1 pound of large shrimp
  • 1 Large shallot or 2 stalks of scallions
  • 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1 cup of assorted fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, mint)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed with a teaspoon of salt
  • Salt, pepper, to taste, 2 teaspoons of sumac, a teaspoon of chili powder or paprika
  • Rind of a lime


  1. Peel and devein the shrimps; grate some lime rind on the shrimps, season them with salt, pepper and a couple teaspoons of sumac. Set aside. Peel and shred the carrots and parsnips and place in a big bowl. Squeeze the juice of the limes and set aside. Mince the fresh herbs and set aside.
  2. Peel the outer banana leaves and cut from both ends. Cut the flower in half, remove the stalk and all the baby bananas and cut the inner tender leaves in very thin slivers. Place in a bowl with 3 cups of water and 1/4 cup of lime juice.
  3. Make the dressing: Mash the garlic with some salt, add the yogurt and stir, add the olive oil and some paprika (or chili powder) and stir.
  4. Parboil the carrots and parsnips a few minutes in a pot with 1/2 cup of water and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let the veggies steam; uncover and allow the water to evaporate.
  5. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and quickly pan-fry the shrimps. Add to the bowl of veggies. Add the drained banana flowers.
  6. Pour the dressing over the shrimp and veggies and stir. Serve the salad at room temperature.



32 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Devaki says:

    What a beautiful presentation and what stunning flavors! This is just wonderful in evry way Joumana ๐Ÿ™‚

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  2. aipi says:

    How I wish I could get a hold of big banana flower here ~ your presentation is absolutely exotic n I can feel the bold flavors , really nice!
    US Masala

  3. Miriam says:

    those looks awesome, i never thgt beyond the box n’ imagined a salad with them…as a child we used to love sucking the honey from these flowers. Like you said in kerala-india there are a lot of curries made with this…but none which can be made to look this good…:)…nice post…i’m so sure i will get to see these snaps on TS n FG…:)

  4. Verkin says:

    Just beautiful, great idea!

  5. Rosa says:

    That salad is very interesting! I’d love to taste it.



  6. Banana Wonder says:

    you had me at “banana flower” this is incredible! i have never heard of eating the banana flower. i wonder it we have these at some of the super asian grocery stores in the states. i love how you “deflowerd” the flower too :-)… oh to feel 90 degree weather again!

  7. Angel of the North says:

    I am groaning with envy. In the unlikely event of my ever running into one I shall know exactly what to do with it thanks to your wonderfully clear pictures. 90 degrees – WHERE are you. Please send some warmth to the Borders NOW!

  8. john@heneedsfood says:

    This salad you’ve created is divine and reminds me how much I love the banana flower salads at Thai restaurants

  9. Priya says:

    We used to cook banana flower but never as salad, incredible..

  10. Nuts about food says:

    What a beautifully exotic looking salad.

  11. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    This is so gorgeous! I have never had banana flowers, but I’ve seen banana blossoms (not sure if that is exactly the same as this) before. I’d love to try this!

  12. tigerfish says:

    I am actually quite new to banana flower until recently my friend’s mom cooked it! She also said – every part of the banana plant – the fruit, leaf, flower – can be put to good use.

  13. MyLittleExpatKitchen says:

    I have never heard of this before nor seen it. Banana flower, sounds so exotic, it certainly looks exotic!
    Thanks for the introduction Joumana ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Louise says:

    What a novel idea. Leave it to you to come up with a “floral” shrimp salad, Joumana. It looks absolutely enticing.

    Thank you so much for sharing…

  15. Louise says:

    What a fabulous looking salad. It looks amazing. I’m sure it tastes sensational

  16. Caffettiera says:

    This is so pretty. They have a very rich colour, which I love and is not often met in food.

  17. Marie-Claire says:

    And where in Dallas can I get banana flowers, Joumana!? Thanks!

    • Joumana says:

      @Marie-Claire: There is a vegetarian Indian market that sells them; it is called SABZI MANDI and it is on Buckingham road.

  18. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Ah-hah!! Brilliant & gorgeous!

  19. Susan says:

    I’m not sure I’ll find a banana flower but they make such an elegant presentation. The shrimp salad sounds delicious!

  20. Mimi says:

    I didn’t know that you could eat bnana flower. It looks amazing.

  21. Faith says:

    Beautiful salad, Joumana. Your presentation is stunning…I’d love to find those banana flowers!

  22. Katherine says:

    Wow, I have never seen banana flowers before but they are gorgeous! Beautiful photos as well. The shrimp salad looks delicious even if I can’t get my hands on banana flowers.

  23. Cynthia says:

    I’ve never seen a salad look this attractive!

  24. Amanda says:

    Joumana – what a stunning idea for presentation. It had never even occurred to me that banana flowers were useful for anything else.

  25. Jessica says:

    amazing! I need to seek these out now in the markets!

  26. Katie@Cozydelicious says:

    I’ve never used banana flower. How fun! I love the idea of discovering something new from a plant I know and love! This looks yummy and beautiful.

  27. Heavenly Housewife says:

    How beautiful and exotic! I wonder if I will ever come across banana flowers here in the UK. I haven’t seen them in Indian stores near where I live, but maybe in london.
    *kisses* HH

  28. Stevie says:

    “90C?” You’re lucky to be alive in that brutal heat.

    I haven’t seen banana flowers in the markets in San Francisco. This is not banana farming country. They’re common in Brazil though I don’t know what if anything is made from them. Now you’ve made me very curious indeed. Thanks for the great ideas.

  29. wizzythestick says:

    Although bananas grow here it’s gonna be a task hunting down the flowers since it’s not common to eat them. I certainly want to try it now:-)

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