Tod Mun Pla or fish cakes are popular in Thailand. The most common veggie variety are made with sweetcorn but I prefer Tod Mun Hua Plee made from banana flowers. My friends’ restaurant in Nontaburi Baan Rabiang Nam used to make delicious ones. I picked a banana flower the other day and was thinking of making Yam Hua Plee but decided to make these instead. This will make about 10 – 12.
Start by stripping the outer petals off the banana flower until you come to the lighter coloured centre. Save a couple of the outer petals to serve the fritters in. Prepare a bowl of water with salt and some lime juice in it, this will stop the banana flowers from discolouring. Cut the flower lengthwise into quarters and then cut out the centre core. You can then easily remove the actual flowers leaving you with the petals. Chop these into small pieces by shredding them lengthways and then cutting crossways and put them in the water. There should be about 1 1/2 cups . In a bowl add about a cup and a half of tempura flour, an egg and a (heaped) tsp. of red curry paste. Shred about 5 or 6 kaffir lime leaves and tear up a few sweet Thai basil leaves and add them top the bowl. mix this all together into a paste then drain the banana petals and mix them in. It should form a very thick sticky paste / batter that binds everything together. You can add some water or flour to get the right consistency.
In a frying pan heat about 1cm of vegetable to oil until hot then use a couple of spoons, I use noodle spoons, to form the patties in one spoon and ease them off with the other spoon into the oil. Fry in batches until they begin to turn golden brown and then turn. When they are done drain them. Serve hot with a dipping sauce made from Thai sweet chilli (chicken dipping) sauce with some finely diced cucumber and crushed peanuts in it, if you like spice than add a bit more chilli powder to the sauce too and garnish with some coriander leaves.