Living off the Land

Farm to Table, Baby!!!

Farm to Table, Baby!!!

Our yard has a banana grove.  This in itself is awesome, but even more awesome is that we actually had bananas on our tree.  I kept waiting for them to ripen, but not knowing anything about bananas on trees I found out too late that they do not turn yellow when ripe, they turn bright green.  I think I missed my chance to eat them.

However, while they were growing I was excitedly informed by my BFF May and my Auntie Flora, both former residents of the Philippines, that one could eat the banana flower.  Yes, bananas have flowers.  But how does one eat them?  Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew?

The Google is always handy for answering this and any other question, and when put to the test it came back with a salad that lacked other strange ingredients and was therefore make-able.  Chef Jose worked his magic, and voila!  We were able to eat something that grew in our garden, albeit not planted by us.  Anne was adventurous and joined us for dinner, and that’s how you know you’re family.  It’s when we feed you things that are not only experimental in the recipe department, but experimental in the ingredient department as well.  I happened to think it was delightfully tasty, so if you happen to find yourself with an extra banana flower lying about, here is the recipe I highly recommend from

What strange things have you eaten?  From your own garden?

Banana Flower, Poached Chicken and Mint Salad

1 firm banana flower (Incidentally, you can find these at asian grocery stores, usually between November and February is best, depending on where you live)
1 lime
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of fresh mint, rolled and sliced
4 tablespoons white vinegar (We used cava vinegar from our Barcelona trip.)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari


Make sure to slice your banana flower as thinly as possible.

  1. Prepare the banana flower: Peel back the purple leaves, and remove the buds until you find yourself with the white heart.  The little fingers you find as you pull back the leaves are little baby bananas.  You can try them, but you will be disappointed.
  2. Reserve two of the purple leaves for serving.
  3. Cut off the stem and cut the heart in half. Thinly slice each half and immediately place in a large bowl with water and the juice of half a lime.  Use this mixture to wash off your two reserved leaves from above.
  4. Poach the chicken: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and chicken breast.
  5. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and comes apart easily.
  6. Shred the chicken with a fork and set aside.
  7. Cook the onions: Heat up canola oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Drop onion slices in oil and let them fry up until crispy
  8. Once brown and crispy, remove onions from oil and dry on a paper towel.
  9. Put everything together: In a large bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, chili flakes, and lime juice. Add mint, shredded chicken, and sliced banana flower to the bowl and toss well.
  10. Serve salad in the two purple leaves, top with crispy onions and drizzle with soy sauce. Garnish with mint.
  • Marius Hancu

    Hey, I had a banana grove in my backyard in Kokubunji, too-)

    And the MC of my novel is a photographer:

    Now, only if you don’t mind (otherwise, please remove my
    post), perhaps you or your blog readers might want to have a look at  “Simon and Hiroko,” a
    dramatic love story located to a large extent in Japan, which has gathered
    several appreciative reviews and blog interviews.


    It certainly touches on the Yakuza and the police:-)


    Murakami lovers might like it.


    Available at:






    I wish you’d take a stab at it too, as impressions from
    current residents would be very special for me.


    I lived two years in Tokyo and I enjoyed the place very



    Marius Hancu