The flower, which may also be called banana blossom, grows on the end of the stem holding a cluster of bananas. Considered an Asian or tropical vegetable, it has a deep crimson color and consists of tightly packed leaves or bracts that wrap around rows of thin stemmed male flowers. It is the inner pale colored bracts that are used for food dishes. Banana flowers can be sliced and served in meat stews, soups, rice or noodle dishes, and cooked vegetable dishes. Or the banana flower can be used as a decorative food "plate" or holder for prepared salad ingredients as they are placed into the leaf for serving. When preparing for slicing, steam the entire blossom for approximately 20 to 30 minutes before slicing into it. In various Asian countries this vegetable is also known as banana blossom, banana heart, banana no tsubomi, dok kluai, jantung pisang, kehel mal, kere kafool, ngapyaw phoo, puso, and shang chao fua. Most often, this vegetable is available in Asian or tropical food markets.
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