They do say better late than never, right? I tried this delicious Thai dessert during our family holiday to Phuket in May 2014. I was so blown away by this simple yet immensely satisfying dish that I made a mental note to blog about it as soon as I got home. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I’m sharing now!
I learnt how to make Bananas Cooked in Coconut Cream (or Kluay Buad Chee in Thai) as part of a cooking class held at Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach. The head chef of the resort guided my husband, son and I (my little girl took photos) through a number of Thai favourites which we got to enjoy at the end of the session for lunch.
I was familiar with most things we cooked (Tom Yum, Pad Thai and Thai Beef Salad) but the banana dessert was a new discovery. I was secretly hoping to learn how to make sticky rice with mango but in the end I was please to try something totally new.
Kluay Buad Chee is usually made on the stove (here’s a basic recipe) but with a few modifications, I found an easy way to make it with the Thermomix. In fact, it’s now become my go-to dish when my husband has dessert demands but I’d like something light for him.
The recipe calls for coconut cream but I have made variations of this dessert using both light coconut milk as well as a blend of light coconut cream and a non-dairy milk. The result may not be as creamy if omitting full fat coconut cream, but the flavour is still outstanding.
The key to this recipe is making sure your bananas are at that perfect state of ripeness. I recommend getting ones that are slightly green and only just peel easily (you know that stage!). If you only have bananas that are ripe to overripe, I recommend cooking something else (like this Banana Bread!) until you can get younger bananas. Ripe bananas are just too sweet and will fall apart during cooking. You want banana pieces that will hold shape and have a nice tartness to offset the sweetness of the cooking sauce.
Finally, this dish is worth visiting your local Asian grocer for to get real Thai palm sugar and some pandan leaves (fresh or frozen). However, if you’re at the mercy of what’s in your pantry, raw sugar is more than fine (as is regular white sugar) and you don’t have to use pandan for extra flavouring. I do however urge you to try making the dish again later with authentic ingredients as the depth of flavour they add is truly worth the effort.
- 1 pellet of palm sugar (or 45 grams of shaved palm sugar, or other sugar)
- 1 400g can of coconut cream (or a mix of light coconut cream + non-dairy milk to make up 400g)
- a pinch of salt
- one pandan leaf, tied into a knot
- 2 medium bananas (only just ripe, as per notes)
- Blitz the palm sugar pellet in the TMX for 10 seconds on Speed 8 or until ground down to grains of sugar. If using other sugar, there is no need to do anything.
- Add coconut cream (or preferred combination of liquid) and salt to TMX. Put lid on and cook mixture at 80C on Speed 2 for 4 minutes, adding pandan leaf to mixture at 3 minutes, if using. Sugar should be dissolved.
- While the sauce is cooking, cut bananas into bite-sized pieces (around 2cm wide).
- Add banana pieces to TMX bowl and cook for a further one minute at 80C on speed Soft, Reverse.
- Once cooled a little, serve bananas in dessert bowls with a ladle of sauce.