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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bánh Chuối Hấp Nước Cốt Dừa (Banana Cake with Coconut Sauce)

I've been wanting to make this Banana Cake with Coconut Sauce (Bánh Chuối Hấp Nước Cốt Dừa) for so long. Last night, I made it happened.

As you may have noticed in most of my posts I mentioned about food from my hometown in Pleiku, Vietnam where I grew up for 14 years. I don't know how businesses operate in Vietnam these days, but back then, most of the businesses were managed right at their own homes. One of my favorite dessert parlors of these sort was Chè Bà Dũng which was extremely popular. Her house was always pack with lots of people who love her chè (pudding). She had many kinds of chè but one of my favorite was chè bánh chuối. It has many delicious layers from banana cake to mung bean paste to fresh durian (from the durian fruit) , and yet another layer of coconut sauce; finally it's topped of with roasted peanut. Are you salivating yet?

I love everything in it especially anything made out of banana. I love the smell of durian which is truly an acquired taste (certainly not for the faint of hearts) for its pugent aroma.  Even Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods who can chow down on pig brains, bull testicles and just about everything in between cannot even stand the smell of durian; he tried it twice, but had to succumb to its offensive odor. But I love it! 

Tonight, right after the dinner, I started to work on this dessert.  It took me about 1 1/2 hour to get everything done.  There was one thing that I forgot  in preparing this dessert.  I forgot  to add some yellow color to enhance the bland appearance of the Bánh Chuối (Banana Cake). 

I served Banana Cake with Coconut Sauce to my family at 10:30 pm.  It was a great dessert . . . to usher in the sweet dreams.

Photo taken on January 2010
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RECIPE: Bánh Chuối Hấp Nước Cốt Dừa
Make 1/2 sheet cake

Banana Cake
(triple up this recipe below to make 1/2 sheet banana cake)
4 large ripe Bananas (any type of ripe bananas you preferred)
4 tablespoons Tapioca Flour (bột năng)
2 tablespoons Rice Flour (bột gạo)
1/4-1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Alsa Baking Powder
1-2 drops Yellow Food Color, optional
1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Mung Bean Paste
1 cup of Mung Bean (soak for about 1/2 hour if preferred)
2 cups Water  
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract or Pandan Leave, tied together

Coconut Sauce
1 can of coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract or  Pandan Leave, tied together
1 tablespoon Water + 1 teaspoon Tapioca Flour, mixed well

Durian, optional
 Dry Roasted Peanuts, chopped or Roasted Sesame Seeds
Making Banana Cake

Smash 3 bananas. Add sugar and mix it. Add flour, vanilla extract and yellow color then mix well. Adjust the sugar to your liking. Lastly add baking powder. Mix them well. Spray or brush oil inside a 1/2 sheet baking tray then pour mixed banana in it. Cut the remaining banana into round slices. Arrange them on top of a mixed banana tray. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.


Banana cake looks more appetizing if yellow color added.  This cake doesn't have the color added. 

Add water in another bigger tray (about 1/3 full of water),then put the banana tray in the water tray.  Cover banana tray with foil paper to prevent searing.  For a convection oven, bake at 375º for about 45 minutes. Otherwise, bake at 400º for about 1 hour. 
Remove it from the oven and let it cool down.  Cut it into any shapes you prefer.
Making Mung Bean Paste

Soak mung bean for about 1/2 hour before cooking to expedite the process.  I didn't soak mine ahead due to last minute cooking plan.
Bring water, mung bean, pandan leave and sugar to a boil in a small pot over high heat.  When it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low heat. Remove white foam. Cover with a lid.  Occasionally stir it until it's thoroughly cooked.  Add vanilla extract and smash it to make mung bean paste. Put in a bowl and set it 
Making Coconut Sauce

If using pandan leave, tie it into a short string. Bring the sugar, salt, pandan leave and coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the tapioca flour mixture and stir it at the same time.   Add vanilla extract if you don't use panda leave.  Pour coconut sauce into a bowl and set aside.


Available at most of Asian supermarkets.  Frozen durian can be bought in  whole or meatIf you bought a whole frozen durian, leave it out at room temperature for at least 6 hours before open it up to get the meat out.  Learn to open the spiny Durian.
Chopped Roasted Peanuts or Roasted White Sesame Seeds

You can buy raw peanuts or Sesame Seeds and roast them. I usually buy a jar of Planters dry roasted peanuts to save time.
Presentation of Bánh Chuối Hấp Nước Cốt Dừa

Place a slice of banh chuoi on a small plate.  Spread bean paste on top, then durian meat.  Drizzle it with coconut sauce.  Top with chopped roasted peanuts or roasted sesame seeds.



Enjoyed Banana Cake with Coconut Sauce by the Koi pond.
(Photo taken on August 2011)


  1. Hi Loan,
    Thanks for posting this recipe, one of my favorites. I've tried making this but somehow it didn't taste like the store-bought ones. I noticed that you use "American" bananas. I wonder if the store one, they use plantain or the other banana that looks like plantain but a little shorter. Also if there is rice flour in their recipe? I'll try out your recipe.
    BTW, cute pics of your girls; looks like they're enjoying the good life.

  2. In this recipe, I used Chuối Già Hương (American bananas:-)) since I got them for free from an outdoor market. You can use any type of bananas you preferred but they have to be riped. Choose bananas that are yellow and flecked with brown spots since they are soft, sweet,creamy and they are perfect for making banana cake, bread, etc.

    Add rice flour in the recipe if you don't want banh chuoi to be chewy. I forgot to add rice flour in mine, so it was a little bit chewy. I just edited the recipe :-)

    The girls are enjoying their mommy's cooking. They inspire me to cook more :-)