Life Life

01/06/2019 - 07:26

Beautiful flamboyant flower salad

Summer has come and the scarlet flowers on the flamboyant trees (Delonix regia) have flamed up the sky. I often joke with my friends that the sun burns our skin and the flamboyant flowers are flaming in the canopy.

Flamboyant flower salad is beautiful and is an effective dish to refresh your palate

In my morning run, I saw that the red flamboyant tree under Truong Tien Bridge has bloomed, creating a summer highlight for the clear Huong river. And in front of the gate to my house, there is also a beautiful flamboyant tree with scarlet blooms.

The students sometimes break a branch with some flowers and bring back to their room as if to bring in some summer atmosphere. Once, I said: "If you take a branch, please break one for me so I can make a salad”. The students were surprised and curiously asked if flamboyant flowers are edible. Of course, in addition to being very beautiful, flamboyant flowers can be eaten, just like the mountain ebony flowers (Bauhinia variegate) can be made into a salad. Hue also has the mountain ebony flowers, but with a different name: hoa hoang hau (Queen flowers).

In order to make a flamboyant flower salad, first you need to prepare some banana flower, if possible, the flower of a type of banana called chuoi su (Musa balbisiana). You also need to prepare some boiled and shredded chicken or shrimp. In addition, you will need some long coriander, herbs, basil, a shredded green mango, some julienned carrots, peanuts and white sesame. And of course, a handful of flamboyant flowers with the stems detached; only the petals part will be used. If you want a salad with a lot of vegetables, you should include some vegetable sprouts or peperomia pellucida (rau càng cua) to enhance the flavor.

In the morning, I went to market and bought some already-sliced banana flower, a carrot, some coriander, peanuts and sesame. I already have vegetable sprouts in the garden. I was planning to make flamboyant flower salad for my family for lunch. I didn’t use shrimps, but bought half a chicken, instead. I boiled the chicken and shredded it, leaving a drumstick whole for my first-grade son. There’s a mango tree with green fruits in the garden, so I only needed a long stick to pick one. 

I washed all of the vegetables and drained them. The herb was finely chopped. The peanuts and sesame were roasted and crushed finely and in large chunks. Next is the salad preparation stage.

In fact, salad is the easiest thing to do in all the dishes that I know how to do. Just put everything together, and sprinkle with the fish sauce that has been prepared, and mix well to enjoy it right away.

Put the pan on the stove with some oil and shallots; then stir-fry the chicken. Season the chicken and let them cool. Arrange the other ingredients including banana, mango, vegetable sprouts, carrots and flamboyant flowers on the plate. Another optional ingredient for added flavor is shredded beef jerky.

Then, add the stir-fried chicken on top and sprinkle the peanuts and sesame last. The fish sauce for this salad is a sweet fish sauce. Mix fish sauce with sugar and water, squeeze a little lime juice, add some chopped chili and garlic and add to the bowl of fish sauce. Pour the fish sauce on the salad, mix well and enjoy. 

Flamboyant flower salad is beautiful and is an effective dish to refresh your palate. This is a strange dish, full of tastes: the sour taste of the flamboyant petals, the bitterness of the vegetable sprouts, the savory taste of chicken, the sweet and sour taste of green mango, the acrid taste of banana flower, the spicy taste of chili and garlic and the buttery flavor of the peanuts and sesame make the dish delicious.

Flamboyant flowers are abundant these summer days. Why don’t you try making a flamboyant flower salad to treat the whole family with a delicious and unique meal!

Story and photo: Nam Giao

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