Chè chuối: Banana Sago in Coconut Milk

che chuoi banana sago

 

Dearest Readers:  I am sorry for such a long absent, but I am back.  Will try to post more regularly now that I am getting back into the groove. 🙂

Sometimes markets like to do some quick sales.  In my recently trip to our local Asian market, I found a bag of one pound very ripe baby bananas for 99 cents.  Bananas covered in lots brown spots but no damages;  it was perfect to make banana dessert!  Che Chuoi is a much loved, traditional Vietnamese dessert of bananas cooked with tapioca pearls (sago), coconut milk, and fragrant with pandan leaves.  This dessert has the crunch from the roasted peanuts, the richness from coconut milk, the sweetness from bananas, and a hint of saltiness to enhance the flavors.  If you refrigerate it overnight, it makes a refreshing tropical pudding.

Note: *the amount of bananas use is according to your preference, but use at least 7 regular bananas.
  • 12-15  baby bananas or 8-10 regular bananas*  diagonally sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 112 g (2/3 cup)  tapioca pearls (sago)
  • 1,000 ml (4 cups) coconut milk (I used Aroy-D brand because it doesn’t have preservatives)
  • 100 g (1/2 cup)  sugar
  • 2 g (1/2 teaspoon) sea salt
  • 4 stalks   pandan leaves (optional) (use green parts, frozen or fresh or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or pandan extract)

Peanut topping:

  • 110 grams (3/4 cup)  roasted peanuts
  • 16 grams (1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) sea salt

Bring 2/3 pot of water (medium pot) to to a boil, add in tapioca pearls. Let it cook until translucent. drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.In a large pot, add in coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and pandan leaves. (If using extract, wait until the end of cooking) Bring it to a boil and then simmers in low heat for 5 minutes.

Add to the pot of coconut mixture,  sliced bananas and let it simmer for several minutes. Then add in the tapioca pearls. Continue to simmer for 1 minute. Stir constantly to prevent pearls from sticking to the bottom. (If you are using extract instead of pandan leaves, add it in now). Remove pot from heat.  As the dessert cools down, make peanut topping.

Make peanut topping:

I find using brown lunch (paper) bag for this next task works better, but you can use a ziplock.  Put roasted peanuts into the bag.  Make sure the nuts are spread evenly in a layer.  Fold the opening and hold that end, but be careful when smashing peanuts. Hold the rolling-pin like a paddle and pound on the peanuts to crush into small bits. You may want to shake the bag up and spread nuts out evenly in between poundings.  Mix in sea salt and sugar. Close the bag again and shake to mix. (Adjust sugar and salt to your liking)

This dessert can be served warm or cold.  Just  garnish with peanut topping right before serving.
Enjoy!
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Cassava Coconut Cake

Baked Cassava Coconut Cake

Cassava Coconut Cake

Yesterday was one of those days that plating/styling for food photo was not happening. The sun light streaming into our dinning area was too much or not enough making photo shoot really frustrating. I plated cassava coconut squares in circle, zigzag lines and stacking. Nope, did not capture what I was looking for. Certain food can be challenging for me to do a presentation that would allow me to capture its essence. So frustrated that I just turned the camera to a prepping plate, and just started shooting. It worked! This plate of juxtapose cassava coconut squares that I absent-mindedly tossed the unused squares onto came out pretty decent. What do you think?  What do you do on one of those days?

Anyway, back to recipe. This is actually baked cassava cake revisited. It has been a long while, my first post to be exact, since I baked this cake. I baked it again because my Father is visiting this weekend and it is his favorite. I made some minor changes to the recipe, and posting with picture this time around!

I bought a Trader Joe’s coconut cream extra thick and rich. It was the first time I used this product so I didn’t know when the label says thick it meant really thick barely any liquid. I wasn’t sure how that would turn out since original recipe has 1/2 can of coconut milk so I added a little half and half to the batter. Hey, cream would fix everything right? 🙂 This improvising did baked a moist, chewy, a little more gooey,  and a nice toasted top. A nice balance of texture.  It is a cross between cassava and macaroons.  So here is the recipe again. I hope you will like it too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packs                                                              frozen grated cassava (thawed)
  • 1 pack                                                                frozen shredded coconut (thawed)
  • 1/2 can                                                              coconut cream (extra thick)
  • 45 milliliters                    3 tablespoons             half-and-half
  • 1 egg                                                                 whisked
  • 6 grams                           1 teaspoon                 sea salt
  • 56 grams                         4 tablespoons            cold butter, cubed
  • 450 grams                       2 cups                        caster sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to  275 F or 135 C
  2. Mix all the ingredients in an 8-inch baking pan, level batter evenly, and rake the top with a fork to which texture.
  3. Bake at 275 F (135 C) for 1 hour.  Then increase temperature to 400 F (204 C) and bake for 25 minutes more or until the top begin to turn golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven.  Let it cool for 5 minutes then cut into desired squares.

Let it cool completely or serve it warm.

Enjoy!