Nothing captures the summer experience like grilling. And nothin could be sweeter than a grilled dessert. This summer, I introduced one of my childhood street desserts - Chuối Bọc Nếp Nướng (Grilled Banana Wrapped in Sticky Rice) to my family and friends.
It's utterly impossible to ignore the aroma of burning briquettes toasting banana leaves and sticky rice on a cool evening. And when the burnt banana leaves are peeled back, a crispy golden crust is revealed with a soft delicate center waiting for you to sink your teeth in.
The dessert is incomplete until a coat of tapioca pearl coconut sauce is drizzled over and is then topped off with roasted peanut or sesame seeds. Are you salivating yet?!
Chuối Bọc Nếp Nướng is a wonderful dessert to try on your next camping trip or on a cool evening after dinner. It's simply irresistible.
RECIPE: Grilled Banana Wrapped in Sticky Rice
1 pack frozen or fresh ripe banana (chuối sứ), about 20
1 cup frozen or fresh grated coconut
4 cups Sweet Rice
4 cups Water
1 teaspoon Salt
2 cans, 400 ml each, Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Tapioca Pearls
6 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1-2 knots of Pandan Leave
Roasted Peanut or Roasted Sesame Seeds
1 pack frozen Banana Leaves
a large Ziploc Bag or a Plastic Bag
Preparing Banana Leaves
Wash banana leaves, wipe them off with a kitchen towel, set aside.
Remove bananas from bag and let them thaw. If using fresh bananas, make sure to use the ripe ones as they are sweet and don't have the bitter taste and waxy texture. Peel a banana from the bottom up, the strings will come off with the skin.
Cooking Sweet Rice
Cooking Sweet Rice in a Rice Cooker - rinse rice a few times until water is clear. Drain. Pour the rice, water, grated coconut and salt in a rice cooker. Stir to combine all ingredients well. Set rice cooker to ‘Cook’. Allow to cook until the button switches over to ‘Keep Warm’. Stir the rice. Cover and let it cook for another 10 -15 minutes to ensure the sweet rice is cooked evenly.
Cooking Sweet Rice in a Pot - another quick way to cook sticky rice is in the pot. Rinse a few times until water is clear. Pour the rice, water, grated coconut and salt in the pot. Cook on high heat. Once water begins to bubble at a gentle boil, turn heat down to medium-low and cook for a couple minutes. Carefully tilt the pot and strain any liquid in the pot. Place the lid on tight and turn heat down to low so that it is just nicely simmering for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the water has been absorbed by the rice, and the rice is soft and cooked, turn of the heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Remove the lid, and let the sticky rice cool down.
Cooking Coconut Sauce
Combine knots of pandan leaves and coconut milk in a sauce pan. Cook over a medium low heat until the pandan leaves are cooked and released its aroma, usually about 8 minutes.
In the meantime, soak tapioca pearls in a bowl of water. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Drain the water from tapioca pearls bowl then add tapioca pearls into the boiling pot of water. Be sure to stir often to avoid tapioca pearls clump together or get burned on the bottom of the pot.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until tapioca pearls are softened and translucent. Strain tapioca pearls using a strainer. Set aside.
Once the coconut milk is cooked, add sugar, salt, tapioca pearls, and cook for a minute. Turn off heat. Set aside.
Roasting Peanut or Sesame Seeds
Place peanut or sesame seeds in a ziploc bag and slightly smash it.
Set aside. You can also combine both if preferred.
Use a ziploc bag or a plastic bag and cut both sides to create a plastic wrapper.
Place warm sticky rice on the plastic mat wrapper and use a spatula to press the rice flat, not too thin nor too thick. You might want to put on a pair of gloves to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. I find that it's a lot easier to work with warm sticky rice as the rice is a lot softer and it sticks together well.
Place a banana on top of the sticky rice. Roll the sticky rice and banana using the plastic wrapper.
Twist both ends in opposite directions to tighten the sticky rice as shown below. Cut off any extra sticky rice from the ends of the banana. Remove from the plastic wrapping.
Tear off a long piece of banana leave and wrap up the long length of banana sticky rice. Take another large piece of banana leave and wrap the other side of the banana.
If you want to be fancy or artsy, use a small piece of banana leaves to create a bow.
Repeat the process until done.
Grilling Banana Wrapped with Sticky Rice
Charcoal Grill - place these banana sticky rice on a grill and grill until the banana leaves dry up and both sides of the sticky rice slightly turn golden brown. Only then can you peel off the banana leaves and grill for a few more minutes until the sticky rice is golden brown all around.
Oven Roast - another way to grill these banana sticky rice is using the oven. Set the oven to roast and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. When the temperature reaches 450 degrees F, place these banana sticky rice in the oven and roast until golden brown on both sides.
Plate this golden brown banana sticky rice and drizzle a generous amount of coconut sauce as you desire and sprinkle on the roasted peanut or sesame seeds - or both. Then devour it!
Eat well. Stay healthy.