Friday, 13 August 2010
A Thai dessert - grilled banana & sticky rice parcels
For the majority of the last 5 weeks or so I've been the pastry chef at the restaurant (with a sprinkling of salad, soup and stir-fry sections providing extra variety). I could ramble on about the weird n' wonderful ingredients involved - like jasmine-smoked flour, burnt coconut ash puddings, golden duck egg strands...etc, but I wont (however I will try and take some snaps of it all and get them up here).
Instead I thought I'd do a Thai dessert for the blog, not a complex one like we do at Nahm but something pretty simple which would be a nice way of ending a Thai meal (though traditionally Thais don't really do dessert as final course to a meal, they eat sweet things as snacks.... but hey).
I've eaten these several times on the street in Bangkok - see my snap below (in fact there's load of stalls selling this & similar good stuff right near the infamous Khao San Road...right here in fact), and they're damn good. Sometimes you find them steamed but I'm more a fan of the grilled version....
Ingredients (for 6+ bananas / portions):
One 'hand' small ripe Asian bananas (yep... you could sub in normal banana here).
A cup of white sticky rice.
2 cups of coconut cream (if using bought 'coconut milk' then this is rich, thicker part)
Caster sugar - about 5 tablespoons.
Pinch of salt
A panadanus leaf or two (if possible)
Some banana leaves.
Optional additions - a few tablespoons of extra coconut cream (you can thicken this by heating with a little whisked-in rice flour), and some toasted sesame seeds.
You need to soak the sticky rice in cold water overnight first. The next day drain the rice and put in a pan and add the two cups of coconut milk and the pandanus leaf (if using). Cook until the rice is softish and edible, about 15 / 20 mins. Take the pan off the heat, remove the leaf and season with the sugar and pinch of salt, add more sugar if needed - it should be quite sweet. Set aside and allow to cool.
Now get the bbq going or a griddle pan heating up peel your bananas (slice them if you like too, you'll need to if they are the large non-Thai variety). Wipe your banana leaves clean with a new cloth and take off the tough rib at the bottom and cut in to sections big enough to roll each banana in*. Now add a thinish layer of your cooked sweet rice (about the size of your banana) to one of these sections, place a banana on top then bit more of the rice. Now roll up and secure with a tooth pick or something (the Thai ladies who make these at street stalls would do some ninja folding here; I'm not really up that).
*N.B if the leaves are stiff & hard to roll then you might wanna first soften them briefly over the flame from your gas hob.
Grill these on a medium heat, turning a couple of times, for about 20 mins, by which time the banana should be nicely cooked and the rice hot, sweet and a bit caramelised in places.
Serve the banana parcels hot, garnished with the extra thickened cream & sesame seeds if using: