Tag Archives: Thai recipe

Banana Nirvana: Thai Style Banana Cake

27 Jan
A slice of Thai-style Banana Cake

Banana Nirvana: Thai-style Banana Cake

“To satisfy the human tastes and prejudices there is probably a daily expenditure of two billion woman-hours in the kitchens and dining rooms of the world… men who wax flowery and effusive about the excellence of Mother’s cooking should remember that her reputation was made while they were hungry boys” C. C. Furnas, in Man, Bread and Destiny ©1937

I go through phases where the thought of spending one more second in the kitchen is about as appealing as camel hair underwear.  I loathe loading and unloading the dishwasher for the second time, and my feet grow weary of tracing and retracing the same figure eight between the stove and sink and counter.  But I’m often forced into the kitchen by the demands of my own body, of my children’s bodies, and by my own ethical concerns.  Three beautifully rotting bananas were donated to me last week and I realized that if I didn’t do something with them soon, they would be wasted.  I know that you can freeze bananas, even black ones, and they will remain usable.  However, experience has taught me that if I hide them in the freezer, I’ll never get around to using them.

I make a more than decent banana bread, and banana pudding, although delicious, doesn’t work all that well with rotten bananas, so I decided to go out on a limb and try something new.  I started thinking about the nature of bananas, their tropical origins, and googled around until I saw that many Thai recipes involve bananas. Go figure. Darlene Schmidt over at About.com has a recipe for something she calls Thai-style Banana Cake.  It looked like a good place to start, but I had three bananas instead of two, so I’ve changed the recipe to my liking.  This is my version of a Thai-style banana cake, which I’ve decided to call Banana Nípphaan, or Banana Nirvana. My kids and the Hot Boyfriend said it was excellent.  The Postmodern Daughter liked it most of all and that that it was “puddingy,” which is the postmodern way to say that I finally made a cake that was moist instead of corrugated cardboard.

Banana Nirvana

Banana Nirvana

The Batter:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
  • 2/3 cup baker’s sugar (fine grain)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can of coconut milk (use the full-fat kind…if you’re going to eat cake, eat good cake)
  • 1 and 1/2 mashed bananas (the blacker the better)
  • 2 cups sweet rice flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  1. Cream the butter and sugar, mash the bananas, beat the eggs, and combine all liquid ingredients.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and fold in the wet ingredients.
  3. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  4. Pour the batter into a 9 inch cake pan that has been greased and floured.

The Sauce:

  • 1 and 1/2 mashed bananas
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Combine these ingredients and pour over the cake batter before baking the cake.  The sauce will form a sort of marbling in the batter.
  2. Bake for approximately one hour or until the center is no longer liquid, but more like a jello or pudding consistency.
  3. Eat the cake and thank your lucky stars that you can eat something like this, while people like me can only look at it with something that resembles violent lust.

You Can’t Go Home Again: Part III in a Series on Thai Food in Fairbanks

21 Dec

Thai cuisine is so popular here, we even have drive thrus!

Thai food is not only Fairbanks’ favorite cuisine, it’s also turning out to be a theme in this blog.  Thai flavors are as ubiquitous as snow, so it’s no mere coincidence that when folks leave this place, they are sentimental about many things and Thai food usually ranks in the top 5.  My friend, writer and gastronome Alison Singer, recently sent this piece to me:

“Alaska is always in my thoughts. Always somewhere there on the horizon, along that furthest downward arcing of the horizon, where the sun meets the land, or the sky meets the water. And sometimes in winter, when I look up at a clear sky, flashes of the aurora appear in the periphery of my vision, but when I turn my eyes it is gone. And then I remember I’m not in Alaska anymore.

When I think about cheese, which I do daily, I think about Alaska, and I think about Alaska when I do dishes, and I think about Alaska when I bake cookies. I think about a day spent with a good friend, a day in which we learned what a KitchenAid mixer is capable of, and what it isn’t (multiple loaves of sun-dried tomato bread). On that day, in another small cabin with no plumbing, we made a feast of cookies and treats: cashew brittle, pumpkin rolls, meringues, sun-dried tomato bread, and many other things that I can no longer recall. Perhaps more than I have ever cooked in one session since. Perhaps.

Alaska is where I attribute the beginning of my food obsession. And I wasn’t obsessed with food in Alaska, and so it seems strange, even to myself that I see Alaska as the beginning. Something about the water though. I lived in a little cabin with no plumbing, and so I did the dishes with a thin trickle of cold water, after I had let the dogs lick off the important bits. And I had a boyfriend who was always happy to spend money at Thai restaurants. So between the water and the boyfriend, I didn’t cook that much.  But still.

I never made this dish in Alaska, but it is Thai, and nowhere have I eaten more Thai food than in Fairbanks.

Pad Kee Mao, from the kitchen of Alison Singer

Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles)

  • 1 14-ounce package wide rice stick noodles
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped (or, you know, more. Because it’s garlic).
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh Thai chiles (or not, depending on your spice desire)
  • Some meat. Or tofu. Like a couple chopped chicken breasts, or a half package of drained, chopped extra-firm tofu (my preference, and I’m not a vegetarian).
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/8 cup black soy sauce (if you don’t have this available, just toss in a tablespoon of molasses).
  • 1/8 cup Golden Mountain sauce (can use regular soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges (or diced – you know, however big you want them)
  • 1 green bell peppers, cut into strips (or red pepper, if you’re like me and don’t like green)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular fresh basil)

A note on ingredients: My best advice as a wannabe chef is to not limit yourself to what the recipe says. You think mushrooms sound good in this? Hell yeah they do! And shiitake are awesome in it. And you think garnishing with scallions sounds good? It is.


Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently. (Or follow directions on the package.) Drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok (if you don’t have a wok you can use a sauté pan with almost as good results) over medium-high heat.

Add garlic and Thai chiles; saute 30 seconds.

Add chicken and next 4 ingredients and saute until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. If you use tofu, you might want to fry tofu before and add it at this phase. Add noodles, tomatoes, and bell peppers; toss to coat. Transfer to large platter, sprinkle with basil leaves, and serve.”

Alison Singer hates writing things about herself. Like biographies. But in the spirit of things, she lives in the mountains of North Carolina, where she spends most of her time thinking about food, cooking food, and eating food. And drinking. And playing with dogs. And playing outside. And occasionally going to school. And she loves it all. Especially the eating.

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