These marvelous vegetables were found in a local Balinese market
Banana flowers (Bunga Jantung Pisang) used as a vegetable in Asia. Edible banana blossoms look amazing, if you start opening the outer leaves one by one, you will find a group of yellow flowers. If they would have reached maturity, each of them would have turned into a yummy banana.
How to use banana flowers? Use it for fantastic tropical salad flavoured with local herbs and aromatics such as lemongrass, galangal and freshly grated coconut and served with grilled chicken or pork. Make Indian-style fritters with chickpea flour and garam masala. Add to a soup instead of cabbage, or just fry banana flower like an artichoke.
How to prepare a banana flower? Remove few tough upper darker leaves, soak for few hours in lemon salted water, otherwise, petals will oxidize and become darkened. As well as to drain the bitter sap from between the bracts.
Banana flower and torch ginger flower for an Asian salad
Banana flower, torch ginger flower salad with freshly grated coconut and sambal Oelek dressing
Bitter melon (Pare) is green vegetable looks like crazy cucumber and popular in South Asia. Have extremely bitter taste but has many health benefits. Good for cleansing the blood and helps to reduce diabetes, a good source of folates and vitamin C. How to use? Soak for few hours, rinse well bitter juice. Fry bitter melon with ghee butter, turmeric powder and Indian spices. Add to curry with coconut cream or plain yoghurt. Use for traditional Balinese salad Gado-Gado. For the best results select bright-green pods, yellow pods have a more bitter taste.
Jiicama (Bengkoang) is a popular Mexican edible root that looks like a turnip. Jicama has a juicy crunchy flesh with a sweet-starchy flavour similar to fresh snow peas. How to prepare? Peel off thick fibrous skin using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Make juicy jiicama slaw with mango, beetroot, coriander leaves and lime dressing. Add to vegetable mix juice. Add jicama to soups and stews, or make jiicama fries. Choose firm tubers free of cracks, avoid dark spots on the surface. Jicama is a real superfood, extremely rich in vitamins, fibre, just as one incredibly low-calorie food.
Jicama, mango, beetroot slaw
Chayote (labu siam) is a pear-shaped light green vegetable from the gourd family. It features crunchy texture and mild sweet taste that may be comparable to butternut squash or pumpkin. Peeling off the skin is not required for young, tender chayote. However, larger and over-mature vegetables need peeling using a vegetable peeler. Peel the chayote under cold running water and rinse well sticky juice that can irritate your skin. Carefully remove the large seed pieces inside each chayote. How to use? To braise with chicken, add to curry and soups, stuff it with meat, cheese and herbs. To make a slaw with chayote and jicama and serve it with fish tacos.
Chayote stuffed with minced chicken, braised in tomato sauce, served with yoghurt and dill