How to prepare banana flower ?

For some,cooking banana flower can be messy if you slice the flower before it is steamed or boiled.My recipes save you from all the messy steps.Before touching on the recipes,just a few things we need to know about the banana flower.

The banana flower is the blossom hanging at the end of the stem or inflorescence.It consists of layers of crimson colour bracts with rows of yellow florets lying in between the bracts.Each floret has a plastic-like stamen with a black and hard stigma at the end.The banana flower is the male part hanging at the end of the clusters of bananas.

It is called Jantung Pisang in Malay.


Wild banana flower
Flower of wild banana a.k.a pisang hutan

Only flowers of pisang keling,pisang otel,pisang kipas,pisang kapok and pisang hutan are used.Flowers cut from other type of bananas are too bitter.Ornamental banana flowers are small and not edible.Notice that their flowers pointing upward so as the wild banana flowers.The wild banana flowers are big and edible.Both are beautiful flowers.Banana flower is rich in potassium as shown in the table at the end of this page.

Pisang bunga,the ornamental banana.Notice the upward pointing flower same as the wild banana.
Pisang bunga,the ornamental banana.Notice the upward pointing flower same as the wild banana.

In some recipes,you are required to peel the outer mini petals and the stigmas from the florets one by one,a preparation process not practised in Sarawak for that matter.


Left -  Steamed banana flower. Right - Fibrous bracts,mature florets with plastic-like stamens and stigmas are discarded.
Left – Steamed banana flower.
Right – Fibrous bracts and mature florets with plastic-like stamens and stigmas are discarded.

What our natives do is just peel off the outer bracts and cook the tender bracts and undeveloped florets nearer the heart of the flower.They slice or cut the flower into halves or quarters just before boiling and cook immediately for at least 20 minutes.

Shown here is another way of preparing banana flower.Steam the banana flower for 30 minutes prior to cooking.This is to avoid the bracts from being oxidized and turn black due to contact with air after cutting.Slice the flower only after it is steamed.

Left  - Sliced banana flower Right - Kerabu bunga pisang served in bababa flower bracts
Left – Sliced banana flower
Right –  Banana flower served in banana flower bracts
Preparing the banana flower for the recipe.
  1. Peel off some outer bracts to be used as ‘plates’ for serving the dish.Wash the bracts carefully and dip dry.
  2. Steam the whole blossom for at least 30 minutes or grill the flower for 20 minutes until the outer bracts are nicely charcoaled.
  3. Let cool and peel off fibrous bracts and mature florets.
  4. Keep only the tender bracts,undeveloped florets and the heart of the flower.At this stage,the flower looks like artichoke.

Steamed banana flower is to be sliced for cooking.

Here are two recipes simplified here to share with our viewers.


Banana flower stir-fried with potatoes
Banana flower stir-fried with potatoes
Banana flower stir-fried with potatoes
  • 1  banana flower
  • 2  potatoes-diced
  • 2  dry chillies – seeded and sliced thinly
  • 2 tbs thick soya source
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
Cooking the banana flower
  1. Fry the diced potatoes until slightly brown.
  2. Add  1 cup of water and dry chillies.Simmer till the potatoes are well done.
  3. Add the sliced banana flower and 2 tbs of  thick soya source.
  4. Finally,add 1 tsp of brown sugar and pepper powder.
  5. Serve in banana bracts.

    Kerabu bunga pisang served in banana bract
    Banana flower in thick soya source

 Banana flower in thick soya source

  • 1 banana flower
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 4 tbs thick soya source
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup roasted groundnut – coarsely ground
  • 1 chilli padi – seeded and thinly sliced
  1. Steam the banana flower for 30 minutes.
  2. Peel off more fibrous bracts and discard florets with plastic-like stamens and stigmas.
  3. Slice the banana flower thinly.
  4. Prepare the source by mixing all the ingredients together.
  5. Serve the dish in the selected bracts.
  6. Sprinkle groundnuts on top.

 This dish is similar to the local kerabu,a simplified one,that is.Sliced mangoes,cucumbers and half ripen papaya can be added to the dish.

Bunga pisang kirin with crimson colour bracts and rows of florets.
Bunga pisang keling with crimson colour bracts and rows of florets.

There are Indian recipes for banana flower fritters and Thai recipe for banana flower salad.Most malays would cook Kerabu bunga pisang.Kerabu is local salad in which lime juice,coconut milk,kerisik,spices and herbs are added to the main ingredients.

Ulam is another choice for bunga pisang.Ulam is a local dish in which the raw or blanched vegetables or fruits are served with a paste of belacan,lime juice and chillies.

2signedImage (7)
Nutritional value of Bunga Pisang gentu (Musa hirta),the wild banana flower

Try your hands on this recipe.It would be fun to mess around with banana flower.

Enjoy cooking!

 p/s A facebook friend wrote a comment about the health benefits of banana flower.Please check the content in my comment.


Youcef 约瑟夫 Banouni For those wondering how good of a food it is in terms of vitamins and minerals:

Based only the nutritional facts in the article (I don’t have other sources) and on the recommended daily value (which are very debatable and don’t apply to everyone) : Banana flowers rank very poorly for Vitamin C, Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu) Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe) Magnesium (Mg) Calcium (Ca) and phosphorous (P).
Good news though, they score moderately high on potassium with 545 mg/100g (~10-20% of daily needs), about the same as spinach. Banana (the fruit) is not far behind with ~10% of daily recommended amount of potassium. Some of the richest foods for Potassium (K) include, dry apricots, dry bananas and ginger (for 100g), they’re 2 to 3 times as rich as banana flowers in potassium.
What on Earth is potassium for anyway? It cancels the bad effect of sodium (sea salt and others). Potassium, contrary to sodium, to intoxicants and to stress, *reduces* high blood pressure, and as a consequence reduces the risk of a cardiovascular accident.
In short, banana flowers, a bit good to reduce blood pressure, and still looking delicious to me!


Youcef 约瑟夫 Banouni is a facebook friend who left a comment about the health benefits of banana flower.His comment is included here because of the excellent content.Please read the comment above.Besides high blood pressure,it is believed that it can ease pain caused by menstrual cramp in the abdominal area.

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