Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Banana Heart (Bud) in Coconut Cream (Ginataang Puso ng Saging)
When I was younger than today, I refused to eat Banana Heart - Puso ng Saging. That is the name given to Banana blossom or bud in this part of the world. Primarily because I thought the farmer had to chop off the whole banana tree to get it's heart! And I love bananas - the fruit more than I love the heart! How will the tree bear more fruit if you chop off the heart!?
Of course, now I understand that this vegetable (by the way, why is the bud called a vegetable, and cooked like a vegetable when its produce is called a fruit???) is actually the reddish heart-shaped bud found at the end of the banana stem, and that harvesting the bud will not endanger the tree in any way. The reason why it is called Banana Heart in this parts is because it indeed looks like a heart! To see a picture of a banana heart and know more about it, please click here.
This is a very simple Filipino dish. Banana Hearts are aplenty here in this country. Sometimes it is made into salads. Most of the time, it is stewed in Coconut Cream.
Coconut cream is made through infusing a little amount of water with shredded mature coconut meat. It is then squeezed and strained through a cheesecloth. This first extract is called the coconut cream. You can add some more water and do the whole process again. The second extraction is called coconut milk, which has a lesser consistency than the coconut cream. However, canned coconut cream and coconut milk are easily available now in any groceries. This makes the cooking process so much easier. Also, you can ask your favorite vendor (suki) to chop up the banana heart for you.
1 pc Banana Bud/Heart (puso ng saging)
4 slices of ginger
3 T garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
4 T cooking oil
1 T vinegar
200 gms ground pork or shrimp meat
4 pcs jalapeno chillies (siling haba), chopped (or more, if preferred)
1 can coconut cream
salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove the outer reddish part of the banana heart and discard. Only work on the yellowish white part found inside.
2. Slice the bud lengthwise into 4 parts, then chop each part thinly across the grain. Soak the chopped buds in salted water to prevent discoloration.
3. When ready to cook, drain the salt water and squeeze out all the juices.
4. Saute the ginger in the oil. When they turn golden brown, add the onions and the garlic. Saute until softened.
5. Add in the ground pork or shrimp meat. Stir until cooked. Add in the chopped banana heart and the vinegar. Cover and do not stir for around 3 minutes.
6. When the 3 minutes are up, open and add in the chillies. Mix everything inside the pan so that he banana heart can absorb the flavor of the meat. Cook until the banana heart cut-ups are tender and soft.
7. Add the coconut cream. Simmer for a few minutes more until the sauce is thickened.
8. Serve warm with lots of rice.
Banana Bud is one of the richest source of Potassium and Fiber. That is why I am submitting this dish to a new foodie event - - Eat Healthy : Fiber Rich launched by Sangeeth of Let Us All Cook or the Art of Cooking Indian Food. We should indeed try to eat healthy foods. After all, life is too short to eat bad food. :)