I love trying new foods, and my wife knows this. Well she came up with a good one for me – banana hearts! We had banana trees at our old bamboo house, and I asked what the big purple part was. She said it was the heart, but I did not know they ate it. Turns out the banana tree is actually not a tree at all. It is a flowering plant. When you see how the heart and bananas form it does look like a giant flower. Who knew? Not me, certainly.
We saw some hearts of banana at the grocer for about p20 each (50 cents American). Each banana plant has only 1 heart, so it seems they should cost more. Since bananas themselves are p60 a kilo ($1.40 USD/2.2 Lbs). She bought one and she would cook it up for us. She would make tortang puso ng saging. If I understand her correctly the tortang refers to how it is cooked, and the puso ng saging means banana heart. Tortang is anything fried with egg, sometimes fried in a patty, sometimes more like an omelet. This is going to be a veggie patty. There is also a popular salad made with the heart and coconut milk. I may have to try that later.
I don’t have the exact recipe because she does not cook with recipes. But you begin by peeling off the purple outer leaves. The inner section is a yellowish white and about only half the original size. She julienned it, I think I would have finely chopped it. But it worked out great so what do I know? Soaked it in salt water, then boiled to soften it. I asked why she formed them into balls to boil them and it was just to squeeze the water out of them before boiling… but if you are taking them from water and boiling them in water… does it really matter if you squeeze out the excess water? She does not like my stupid questions.
Anyway. Now the softened banana heart is mixed with egg, flour, onions, garlic etc. (I would have added some bell pepper but she does not like them). Form the mixture into patties and pan fry them in oil. She made them small and served with ketchup and pepper sauce. Sometimes they are made into larger patties and served as a burger. It was quite tasty. I would have added a bit more spice just to give a little more kick. The texture was really nice. The banana heart softened up nicely. And the egg/flour amounts were just right for a firm patty. It was not crumbly or gooey. I would say she done good! A cheap and delicious dinner.