Bananas in Coconut Milk

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Ingredients:

8 unpeeled, small, slightly green, sugar bananas or 4-6 standard-sized bananas
4 cups (32 oz/1 L) coconut milk
2 pandan (screwpine) leaves, bruised and tied into a knot, or 2 drops pandan extract
2 tablespoons palm sugar
Ľ cup (2 oz/60 g) granulated (white) sugar
pinch of salt

Preparation:

1. Cook bananas in a covered steamer over rapidly simmering water until skin begins to break, about 5 minutes. Or, cook bananas in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove bananas from heat, let cool slightly, then carefully peel. Cut each banana into quarters; once lengthwise, then across.

2. Let coconut milk stand, allowing the thick coconut milk to rise to the top. Spoon about 2 cups (16 oz/500 mL) of the thick milk into a bowl to reserve.

3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine remaining thin coconut milk and pandan leaves or extract. Bring to a boil and add banana pieces, both sugars, and salt. Add thick coconut milk, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer gently for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve either hot or cold in individual bowls.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Note: Slightly green bananas work best here, as they are less likely to break up during pouching. Other alternatives include peeled and cubed pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, or taro -- steam or boil until just tender, and cook as above, until tender.

Hard or loaf palm sugar is preferred in this recipe as it contains tapioca starch which slightly thickens the sauce.