Fried Baby Bananas with Coconut Cream

Fried bananas are a popular Thai street food. They're a quick and easy snack and, when paired with our Coconut Cream Sauce, a fantastic dessert, too. If you can't find baby bananas, substitute larger ripe bananas; cut them on the bias into long slices about 1/4-inch thick.

Recipe courtesy Susan Vu for Cooking Channel
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 40 min
Cook: 30 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

COCONUT CREAM SAUCE:
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • One 14-ounce can coconut milk, well-stirred
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
    FRIED BANANAS:
    • Vegetable oil, for frying
    • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
    • 3/4 cup hot water
    • 3/4 cup Asian unsweetened rice flour
    • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk, well-stirred
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons baking powder
    • 8 ripe baby bananas
    • 1/2 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
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    Directions

    For the coconut cream sauce: Toast the desiccated coconut in a small saute pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Combine the coconut milk, toasted coconut, whole milk and kosher salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then turn off the heat and steep for 30 minutes.

    Strain the coconut mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and into another small saucepan, using a wooden spoon or spatula to press down on the solids. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk together the sugar and eggs yolks in a mixing bowl, and then whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot coconut milk mixture to temper the eggs. Gradually whisk in the rest of the hot coconut milk and transfer the mixture back to the saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, for 10 to12 minutes. Strain into a mixing bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool at room temperature while you make the fried bananas.

    For the fried bananas: Fill a wok with 3 inches vegetable oil or a large Dutch oven with 2 inches. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F over medium-high heat.

    Put the palm sugar in a small bowl, add the hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. In a small baking dish (8-by-8-inch is ideal), whisk together the rice flour, desiccated coconut, coconut milk, all-purpose flour, baking powder and the palm sugar/water mixture to form a thin batter. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes while you prep the bananas.

    Peel the bananas and slice each lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick (about 3 slices per banana). In small batches, dip the sliced bananas in the batter, shaking off any excess batter that does not adhere. Fry the bananas until golden brown and crispy, turning occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes. In between batches, use a slotted spoon to remove any excess batter that has fallen into the hot oil. Place the fried bananas on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

    Serve the fried bananas topped with coconut cream sauce and chopped peanuts.

    Cook's Notes: It is important to use an Asian rice flour in this preparation for the right batter consistency.

    If you cannot find baby bananas you can substitute ripe bananas; cut these into long bias cuts about a 1/4-inch thick and follow the method above.

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