Funnily enough I got the inspiration to make this dish when I got chatting to a local Thai chef in Brixton. I was aimlessly walking around ‘Wing Tai’, one of my local oriental supermarkets. I was, as I find myself lots these days, lost in the weird and wonderful labyrinth of Asian produce; this must have been pretty obvious to the outside world as this guy felt the need to take time out of his own day and offer me a hand.
He asked, “What is it you’re looking for, what are you going to make?” to which I swiftly and unhelpfully replied “something that I have never made, seen, or heard of before”. To this I half expected him to instantly assume that I was a bit of a fruit loop and see himself off, however he asked, “Do you like Jam?” – “Yes” I replied (please don’t ask me to come for breakfast!!!). “Do you like bananas?” –umm… Yes” I replied (please, please, please don’t ask me to come for breakfast!!!), “how about banana jam?” – “few… I mean yes that sounds delicious”.
All jokes aside he was an extremely nice man, as he even wrote down a rough guide for me to come home and try (and if you’re reading this I would happily come for breakfast).
Now I have made many Jams in my time, however I have never heard of banana jam, this is why I thought it a perfect recipe to include on Articuleat. I love cooking things for the first time, not only do you learn a new recipe but, especially with Asian cuisine, you gain a wider perspective of certain ingredients. I have now been cooking Thai cuisine professionally for over a year and every day is a school day – exciting stuff. Saying this, I don’t think this dish could strictly be categorized as Asian (it’s more fusion), but it did find its way into my recipe book via a Thai chef and his mother’s recipe, so screw it – lets say it’s Asian.
After making this a few times I have changed the recipe slightly to ‘articuleatise’ it. He recommended using gelatin to set it (no thanks); I have used natural pectin as a setting agent. Pectin is a chemical found in fruits (predominantly apples), that can be used to set jams and jellies. As bananas contain such a small amount of pectin naturally, it is necessary to add a little more to guide it towards setting like a normal jam.
He also recommended serving it with tinned coconut cream, however here at Articuleat that just won’t do. For my recipe I have cracked and pressed my own coconut cream. This is a much lengthier process but the final product is in a league of its own. Any tinned coconut cream always has a certain aftertaste to it – this is all the preservatives that it is packed full of. If you ever find the time I recommend that you try cracking your own coconut cream.
Lastly I grated and toasted the remaining coconut flesh and included it in the peanut praline. This adds a little necessary texture to the dish. Although this is an unusual form to see these ingredients in, they compliment each other perfectly in this dish. The salted coconut cream balances out the softly sweet and sharp banana jam, all topped with a crunchy peanut praline and a squeeze of lime – perfect.
Apologies if any anonymous Thai chefs from around the Brixton area have suffered emotional trauma during the reading of this recipe – please do send me a complaint and I will reply as swiftly as possible.
Anyway, that’s enough from me for today – happy jamming.
(For the coconut cream)
-8 coconuts, cracked with a hammer and peeled to the flesh (if you want, drink the coconut water that is released when cracked – it’s very good for you)
-2litre, water, boiling
(For the praline)
-200g, white sugar
-100g, peanuts, toasted and semi-pounded in a pestle and mortar
-40ml, fresh lime juice
-20g, toasted coconut flesh (use coconut that has been cracked for cream)
(For the banana jam)
-1500g, ripe bananas, chopped into chunks
-60ml, fresh lime juice
-70g, unsalted butter
-1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
-1000g, white sugar (light brown also works well)
(For the salted coconut cream)
-200ml, fresh coconut cream
-1tspn, white rice flour
-1 pinch Malden sea salt, crumbled as fine as possible
- Firstly let’s make the coconut cream. Start by cracking the coconuts with a hammer and remove and discard of the outer shell. This leaves you with the inner flesh of the coconut which has an inedible skin attached to it. Using a peeler remove this skin to leave you with only the fresh, white coconut flesh. Next put this flesh through a mincer, or grate it and add to the boiling water, combine thoroughly using a stick blender for around 5 minutes. Once combined filter the liquid from the flesh by ringing it out in some muslin, or a cloth. Once separated place the liquid in the fridge and leave to cool. As it cools the cream will separate from the water, the white cream on the top is what you want. Keep the coconut water as it can be used to let out curries and soups. Any leftover coconut cream can be boiled down until it splits (cracks); this can then be used as coconut oil (coconut crack) which we will talk about another time. Once finished take some of the grated coconut left behind and toast on a medium heat in the oven, until golden brown and crunchy.
- Secondly make the peanut praline, this is a real simple one and only takes minutes to achieve. Place the sugar and lime juice in a pan and melt on a medium heat, stirring constantly to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the pan. Once melted turn up the heat and continuously stir, until the mixture begins to darken and caramelise (around 3-4 minutes when boiling). Lastly add the peanuts and toasted coconut and pour onto a tray with parchment paper underneath, with a spoon spread the mixture as thin as possible and then leave in the fridge to set. Once solid, hit it with a rolling pin to break up into portion sized pieces.
- Now for the banana jam, you will find it much easier with a sugar/jam thermometer, however not to worry if not you will just have to keep a close eye out. Firstly add the bananas, lime juice, scraped vanilla seeds and the remaining pod and the butter to a non-stick pan. Combine as much as possible using a potato masher, cook out on a medium heat for around 7-8 minutes until the banana begins to break down and cook (keep it moving or it will stick). Next add the pectin to the sugar and combine, then pour this fast into the bananas and keep stirring. Boil to 104-105.5 degrees (jam setting temperature), if not using a thermometer then look for when the bubbles get larger, you can see the change in heat bubbles in the pan. Pour this straight in a sterelised jam jar or molds if you wish. The banana jam is great on toast or in natural yoghurt and keeps for around 5-6 months.
- Lastly make the salted coconut cream. Bring the cream to a simmer and then add the rice flour and whisk thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook out the flour for a minute or two, whisking constantly. Once the coconut cream has thickened add the pinch of salt and leave to one side to cool. To plate place the banana jam upon the coconut cream and top with some peanut praline, sprinkle with toasted coconut to finish – then enjoy.
Thanks very much for stopping by at Articuleat and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.
See you next time,