The Banana in Coconut Milk Story Unravelled

By Siri

Preamble:

In Thai, Kluay Buad Chee literally means “Banana in the nunhood”.

I was so perplexed with the name in my childhood. How bananas can become nuns?!! Finally, it dawned upon me that the dessert is basically bananas covered in white coconut milk as if robed in white (cloth) like a Buddhist nun!

The “Buad Chee” or “entering the nunhood” type of dessert is basically cooking something in coconut milk, and one can vary the ingredients. Of the many ingredients, the most common ones, (besides bananas) are sweet potatoes, taro (or yam), and pumpkin. This type of dessert is perhaps the easiest Thai dessert to prepare, and ingredients are easy to find, especially in SE Asia. Although the coconut milk and sugar in the dessert can be sinful and fattening, but the vegetables and fruits can give one a nice excuse to indulge occasionally!

Ingredients:

Bananas              1 kg      

Palm sugar         200 gm

Coconut milk     400 ml

Pandan leaves   10-12

Salt                      1 teaspoon

Gula Melaka, bananas, coconut milk, pandan leaves

Note:

1. Use bananas that are still quite green, just turning yellowish. Ripened bananas will fall apart when cooked. The best banana for this is Kamsookwang bananas that are denser and chewier than the ordinary Cavendish variety. They cost about double the price of ordinary bananas but worth it for the indulgence. In Singapore, I usually buy them from Redmart online grocery but they may be available elsewhere too if you look around. (The company that distributes them is Sumifru and it must know other outlet that carry these bananas.)

2. Palm sugar in this region is also known as Gula Melaka and can be found in the dried goods section of any supermarket.

3. It is best if you can use fresh coconut milk. The pasteurized kind is available in the refrigerated section of any supermarket.

Instructions:

1. Cut up or tie Pandan leaves into a small bundle

2. Simmer them in about 700 ml of water on low heat for 20 minutes

3. Take out the pandan leaves, add the palm sugar and salt, simmer a few minutes till they are completely dissolved.

4. Add coconut milk, simmer for a few minutes until the liquid comes up to a gentle boil. When coconut milk boils, it may foam up so make sure your pot is large enough to prevent the messy boil-over. Skim off the foam to get clear sweetened coconut milk.

5. Peel and cut up the bananas into bite size, about 5-6 pieces per banana, add them to the coconut milk, turn off the stove right away, cover the pot with a lid for 5-10 minutes so the remnant heat cooks the bananas.

6. Let cool. Give it a final tasting. Feel free to add sugar, or salt to your taste. Since the liquid is no longer boiling hot, added sugar should be granulated so that it easily dissolves.

This dessert is served at room temperature or slightly warm, but I also like it cold when I have any refrigerated left-over.

If you use root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or yam, you will need to simmer them for about 5 minutes. Test the doneness. When the vegetables start to cook, but still “al dente” turn off the heat and cover the lid for them to continue cooking in the remnant heat.

[Note from the Editor: Siri is not the Apple App. She is my cousin. She is better known as Dr Siri, and cooking is just one of her many talents!]

Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 9 May 2021

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