This Kilawing Puso ng Saging with shrimp is a unique Filipino banana flower recipe that is delicious and very simple to make plus budget-friendly too! Pair it with your favorite fried fish or meat and steamed rice for a nutritious meal that the whole family would surely enjoy.
As I have mentioned in my previous post, specifically Banana Chips, banana trees are typically seen almost everywhere in our country! And not only can we benefit from their fruits but also their leaves, trunk, and even the banana heart, which is the main ingredient of today's recipe - the Kilawing Puso ng Saging.
What is Kilawing Puso ng Saging?
Kilawing Puso ng Saging is a Filipino "vegetable" dish made with a banana 'heart' which is actually the flower or bud of a banana tree. It is cut thinly and sautéed in onion, garlic, and meat or shrimp then simmered in vinegar and water until tender. This dish is so easy to prepare and not only is it super economical, it is very nutritious to boot!
Why is it called banana heart? It is referred to as such because the banana flower has a pointy-heart shape and the outer petals are normally deep red, and the ensemble resembles a heart. The outer/older petals are not edible because they become tough and chewy. You have to peel off the petals until you reach the paler ones.
Kilawin vs Kinilaw
These two terms are often used interchangeably since they both use vinegar and were both derived from the Visayan word "kilaw" meaning "to eat raw". Kilawin is prepared with grilled or lightly cooked meat, while Kinilaw uses raw fresh meat, usually seafood or fish which is similar to ceviche.
Kilawin is an olden cooking method since pre-colonial times. Traditionally, citrus fruits like calamansi, lime, and lemon are used as acids to cook off the dish. But the natives along the coastal areas use palm vinegar (sukang sasa) or coconut vinegar (sukang tuba) as these trees grow there abundantly.
Ingredients in cooking Kilawing Puso ng Saging
- Banana Heart or banana blossom- Choose the light-colored banana heart rather than the darker one as it is “younger”. The younger banana blossoms have a lighter taste and sweet tangy taste than the mature ones.
- Shrimp - 61/70 or 51/60 count per pound (extra small) is best used for this recipe. You can buy the peeled and frozen shrimp, but of course, fresh is always best.
- Fish Sauce – adds a savory, umami flavor to the dish. If not available, you can also use salt.
- Vinegar –White vinegar is used in this recipe. You could also use cane vinegar, calamansi, or lemon juice as alternatives.
- Rock Salt + water - to soak the banana heart slices to remove the bitter sap.
- Garlic and Onion are the aromatics used in this recipe.
- Oil - you may use canola, vegetable or olive oil.
Preparing the Banana Heart
Before you proceed with cooking the banana heart, here are the steps to properly prepare it:
- Trim off the stem of the banana heart. Peel and discard the outer layers until you reach the lighter and softer core.
- Cut the core in half and slice thinly. Soak the shredded banana blossom in salted cold water for about 15-20 minutes, then squeeze to remove the bitter sap.
- Using a colander or strainer, rinse under cold running water and drain well.
How to Serve and Store
Kilawing Puso ng Saging can be served as a main or side dish. It is best served with fried or grilled fish or chicken, and of course, lots of steamed rice.
Place leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in a saucepan over low heat until heated through. Or you can also pop it in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
Foxy Tips in cooking Kilawing Puso ng Saging
- After adding the vinegar, cook the acidity off by allowing it to boil uncovered and without stirring for a few minutes.
- If your dish turns out to be too sour, add a little bit of sugar to balance out the acidity.
- Aside from shrimp, you may also use slices of pork belly, beef, squid, clam, or mussels.
- To make this dish vegan, replace the meat with fried tofu cubes and the fish sauce with salt.
- To add a kick of spice to your dish, you can add a couple of chopped Thai chili peppers or green chilis.
Kilawing Puso ng Saging Recipe
- 1 large banana heart (puso ng saging)
- 2 tablespoons rock salt for soaking
- water for soaking
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 200 grams small shrimp peeled, deveined, head & tail off
- 3 cloves garlic peeled & minced
- 1 medium onion peeled & chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 5 tablespoons vinegar
- 1-2 cups water
- 1 large banana heart (puso ng saging), 2 tablespoons rock salt, waterCut off the stem of the banana heart and discard. Peel the outer layers until a softer core is reached. Cut the banana heart into thin slices and place banana heart slices in a large bowl with water enough to cover. Add rock salt and with hands massage banana heart slices. Soak for about 15 minutes. (see Preparing the banana heart)
- Massage the banana heart slices again, drain and squeeze out the liquid from the banana heart slice. Discard liquid.
- 2 tablespoons oil, 200 grams small shrimpIn a wide pan. heat oil over low-medium heat. Cook shrimp until it turns orange. Remove from heat and set aside.
- 3 cloves garlic, 1 medium onionIncrease to medium heat and saute onion and garlic until limp and aromatic. Add banana heart slices and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 5 tablespoons vinegarAdd fish sauce and ground pepper. Cook for about a minute. Add vinegar. Simmer for about 5 minutes, uncovered & without stirring.
- 1-2 cups waterPour in water. Lower heat and cover. Simmer until banana heart slices are fully cooked and tender. Add cooked shrimp and cook for a minute.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a serving platter.